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River Kingfishers

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Alcedinidae

The river kingfishers or Alcedinidae, are one of the three families of bird in the kingfisher group.

The family is widespread through Africa, through east and south Asia as far as Australia, with one species, the River Kingfisher or European Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) also appearing in Europe and northern Asia. The origin of the family is thought to have been in Asia.

The taxonomy of the family is uncertain at present: it includes 22 to 24 species in 2 to 4 genera. The uncertaintity arises from two small African species. The Dwarf Kingfisher is sometimes placed in the monospecific genus Myioceyx, and sometimes with the Pygmy Kingfishers in Ispidina. However, molecular analysis (Moyle, 2006) suggests that the Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher is most closely related to the Malachite Kingfisher, and that the present arrangement into Alcedo and Ceyx needs to be reviewed as it seems not to reflect the actual relationships (for example, the Azure Kingfisher is closer to Ceyx erithacus).

Species list:

  • Blyth's Kingfisher, Alcedo hercules
    European Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
    Half-collared Kingfisher, Alcedo semitorquata
    Shining-blue Kingfisher, Alcedo quadribrachys
    Blue-eared Kingfisher, Alcedo meninting
    Azure Kingfisher, Alcedo azurea
    Bismarck Kingfisher, Alcedo websteri
    Blue-banded Kingfisher, Alcedo euryzona
    Indigo-banded Kingfisher, Alcedo cyanopecta
    Silvery Kingfisher, Alcedo argentata
    Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata
    Madagascar Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo vintsioides
    White-bellied Kingfisher, Alcedo leucogaster
    Small Blue Kingfisher, Alcedo coerulescens
    Little Kingfisher, Alcedo pusilla
    Príncipe Kingfisher, Alcedo nais
    São Tomé Kingfisher, Alcedo thomensis
    Black-backed Kingfisher, Ceyx erithacus
    Philippine Kingfisher, Ceyx melanurus
    Sulawesi Kingfisher, Ceyx fallax
    Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Ceyx rufidorsa
    Variable Kingfisher, Ceyx lepidus
    Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher, Ispidina madagascariensis
    African Pygmy Kingfisher, Ispidina picta
    Dwarf Kingfisher, Ispidina lecontei


  • Moyle, Robert G. (2006): A Molecular Phylogeny of Kingfishers (Alcedinidae) With Insights into Early Biogeographic History. Auk 123(2): 487–499. HTML fulltext (without images)

External links

Home | Up | Accentor | Accipitridae | Aegithinidae | Aegothelidae | Aepyornithidae | Alcedinidae | Alcidae | Anatidae | Anhingidae | Antbird | Apterygidae | Artamidae | Asities | Atrichornithidae | Australasian treecreeper | Australo-Papuan babbler

Birds Guide, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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