Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

African Dwarf-kingfisher (Ispidina lecontei)


French: Martin-pêcheur à tête rousse German: Braunkopf-Zwergfischer Spanish: Martín pigmeo del Congo
Other common names: Dwarf Kingfisher

Ispidina Lecontei


, 1856,

Moonda River, Gabon


Sometimes placed in monospecific genus Myioceyx. Sister to I. picta. Ugandan birds described as race ugandae, but inseparable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. l. ruficeps Hartlaub, 1857 – Sierra Leone E to Ghana.
  • I. l. lecontei Cassin, 1856 – SW Nigeria through Cameroon to Gabon, and from Congo Basin to W Rift Valley in SW Uganda and S to N Angola.
  • Descriptive notes

    10 cm; male 9–11 g, female 9·5–12 g. Tiny kingfisher. Both sexes of nominate race have rufous head, black forehead, tiny iridescent blue tips to crown feathers,... read more


    High-pitched squeak.


    Primary rainforest, often along streams, also dense undergrowth in riverine forest, secondary... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including damselflies (Odonata), mantises (Mantodea), beetles (Coleoptera) and their larvae, ants (Formicidae), large flies (... read more


    Lays in Feb in Cameroon, in Nov–Mar in Gabon, and in Sept–Nov in NW Zaire. During courtship pair-members face each other, bill... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Has wide distribution. Although considered uncommon over much of its range, it is reported as locally common in Gabon, and common in the forests of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). African Dwarf-kingfisher (Ispidina lecontei). 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 22 November 2019).