Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

American Pygmy-kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea)


French: Martin-pêcheur nain German: Erzfischer Spanish: Martín pescador enano

Alcedo aenea


, 1764,



Genetic study indicates that this species is sister to C. americana and C. inda#R; previously thought possibly to be sister to C. inda on basis of plumage similarities. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. stictoptera (Ridgway, 1884) – S Mexico (Puebla, Veracruz, Yucatán, Chiapas) to N & C Costa Rica.
  • C. a. aenea (Pallas, 1764) – C Costa Rica to N Colombia, S on W side of Andes to W Ecuador and, E of Andes, E to Venezuela, the Guianas and Trinidad and S to E Ecuador, E Peru, N Bolivia, Paraguay, NE Argentina (Misiones) and SC Brazil (São Paulo).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; male 10–16 g, female 12–16 g. Male nominate race black lore with narrow rufous supraloral line, narrow rufous collar; dark glossy green head and upperparts... read more


    Weak, repeated “tik” or “dzit, tsweek” sometimes faster as a rattle or... read more


    Small streams, rivers and pools with dense overhanging marginal vegetation, in dense gallery forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small fish (Characidae, Cyprinodontidae), tadpoles and small frogs, also insects such as damselflies (Zygoptera). Perches low over water,... read more


    Lays in Mar–Apr, possibly Jun, in Costa Rica; in May in El Salvador and Surinam; in May–Sept in Trinidad; specimens in breeding... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widely distributed; uncommon and local in some localities, but common in others. In Colombia and Bolivia densities varied, 0·9–1·... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). American Pygmy-kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea). 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 17 November 2019).