Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Pygmy-kingfisher (Corythornis madagascariensis)


French: Martin-pêcheur malgache German: Madagaskarzwergfischer Spanish: Martín pigmeo malgache

Alcedo madagascariensis


, 1766,



Previously placed in SE Asian–Australasian genus Ceyx or in African Ispidina, but recent molecular studies indicate that it is basal within the African Corythornis lineage (see C. cristatus). Validity of race dilutus (often misspelt diluatus) requires reassessment#R. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. madagascariensis (Linnaeus, 1766) – W, N & E Madagascar (absent in SW and far S).
  • C. m. dilutus (Benson, 1974) – known from a single specimen from Sakaraha (Zombitse Forest), in arid SW of Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; male 17–21 g, female 17–22 g. Both sexes nominate race bright rufous above, washed with lilac on lower back to uppertail-coverts, and on rear half of head... read more


    High-pitched squeak, “treet treet”; when disturbed, gives high, harsh “chweip... read more


    Dry scrub, savanna woodland, and margins and interior of wet evergreen forest; from the coast up to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly frogs; also insects, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), earwigs (Dermaptera), ants (Formicidae), and larvae... read more


    Lays in Oct–Jan, mainly Nov–Dec. Nest-tunnel 30–35 cm long, 5 cm in diameter, excavated in earth bank, often at edge of... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Nominate race is fairly common and widely distributed in E, N & NW of island. Race dilutus is rare, known from only a single specimen... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). Madagascar Pygmy-kingfisher (Corythornis madagascariensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 15 November 2019).