Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Crested Kingfisher (Megaceryle lugubris)


French: Martin-pêcheur tacheté German: Trauerfischer Spanish: Martín gigante asiático
Other common names: Himalayan Pied Kingfisher

Alcedo lugubris


, 1834,

Nagasaki, Japan


Forms a group with M. maxima, M. torquata and M. alcyon. Race continentalis rather poorly differentiated, and often merged with guttulata. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. l. continentalis (E. J. O. Hartert, 1900) – foothills from NE Afghanistan E through Kashmir to W Bhutan.
  • M. l. guttulata (Stejneger, 1892) – C Bhutan E in foothills to NE India and C, S & NE China and (now rare) N Korea, and S to S Myanmar, NW Thailand and C Vietnam.
  • M. l. pallida (Momiyama, 1927) – N Japan (Hokkaido), possibly also S Kuril Is.
  • M. l. lugubris (Temminck, 1834) – C & S Japan (Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu).
  • Descriptive notes

    38–43 cm; 230–280 g. Distinctive large kingfisher with long crest feathers. Adult male nominate race white loral spot, long feathers on forehead and crown... read more


    Loud “ket ket” in flight, also loud “ping”, deep croaks between paired... read more


    Typical habitat is smaller, fast-flowing streams and rivers with rock or gravel base, in forested... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fish 15–18 cm long, and crayfish. Perches on an overhanging branch, partly submerged log or rock, occasionally bobbing head, raising... read more


    Lays in Mar–Jun in Nepal, in Apr in China and in Apr–Jul in Japan. Territory of a single bird may be 4 km². Nest-site a... read more


    Altitudinal migration in Japan and the Himalayas, with movement to lower country in winter to avoid... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and common in some areas, but numbers have declined sharply during 20th century in Hokkaido, and also in Hong Kong, where... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2020). Crested Kingfisher (Megaceryle lugubris). 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 21 January 2020).