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White-bellied Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Wintibird
Ankasa, Ghana, April 2014
Corythornis leucogaster

Alcedo leucogaster


13 cm.

  • Chestnut cheeks and ear-coverts
  • White stripe on side of neck
  • Rufous eyestripe with lilac tinge
  • Blue-black crown and wings, barred with ultramarine blue
  • Ultramarine back and tail
  • White below with chestnut breast side and flanks
  • Orange-red bill, darker on culmen
  • bowdleri has a broader rufous stripe above the eye
  • leopoldi is paler, has a chestnut breastband, a greenish-blue and black crown and a blue superciliary area

Sexes similar. Juveniles have a black bill, blue mottling on mantle, more barring on crown and a speckled moustache.


Locally in western and central Africa.
Probably often overlooked. Generally uncommon but locally common in some areas like in Gabon, southwest Mali and western Uganda.


Three subspecies recognized:

A population on Principe was formerly regarded as subspecies of this species (C. l. nais) but is now assigned to Malachite Kingfisher.
Formerly placed in the genus Alcedo


Found in dense forest or thickets along streams, wooded and mangrove swamps, tidal estuaris, dry forest and also in gardens, ponds and cocoa plantations.
Occurs from sea-level up to 1200m, locally higher.



Feeds on fish and insects.
Forages from a low branch, often near a forest stream, bobbing its head and flicking its tail. Takes prey from water or from the ground.


Breeding season in July and October in Cameroon. The nest is in a streamside bank or in sloping ground. Lays 2 eggs. No other information.


Mainly a sedentary species. Vagrants from Zambia and northern Nigeria suggest some movements.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2014)

Recommended Citation

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