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Malachite Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by MikeB
Cuango river valley pond, northern Angola
Corythornis cristatus

Alcedo cristata
Includes: Sao Tome Kingfisher


Photo © by Mybs
Wilderness National Park, South Africa

13 cm (5 in)

  • Rufous supraloral spot
  • Bright blue upperparts
  • Green on crown
  • White streak on sides of neck
  • Orange-chestnut underparts and face
  • The crest is not usually raised

Similar Species

Looks similar to the African Pygmy Kingfisher, but the Pygmy has no crest and is a woodland rather than a waterside bird.


Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Transvaal, Lesotho, Swaziland
African Islands: Gulf of Guinea Islands, Sao Tome, Principe, Madagascar


Photo © by Claude_
Caprivi Band, Namibia, Africa, 2017


Alcedo cristata has five subspecies:[1]

  • C. c. galeritus
  • C. c. cristatus
  • C. c. thomensis
  • São Tomé
  • Sometimes regarded a full species, Sao Tome Kingfisher.
  • C. c. nais
  • C. c. robertsi


Usually found in vegetation around Lakes and rivers .


Will take advantage of fence posts and jetties as a fishing perch.


Catches anything from prawns and crabs to insect larvae.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2019)

Recommended Citation

External Links