Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana)


French: Martin-pêcheur vert German: Grünfischer Spanish: Martín pescador verde

Alcedo americana

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,



Date of original description of race hachisukai previously given as 1942, but 1941 probably correct#R. Genetic study indicates that this species is sister to C. inda#R; previously thought possibly to be sister to C. amazona on basis of plumage similarities. Birds from N Venezuela (N of R Orinoco) sometimes recognized as race bottomeana. Additional described races are isthmica (Honduras to E Panama, Pearl Is and N Colombia), hellmayri (W Colombia), ecuadorensis (Ecuador) and croteta (Trinidad and Tobago), but all are poorly distinguished. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. hachisukai (Laubmann, 1941) – SW USA (extreme S Arizona, SW New Mexico and WC Texas) to NW Mexico (Sonora and Cohauila to Nayarit).
  • C. a. septentrionalis (Sharpe, 1892) – SC Texas and Mexico (from Nuevo León and Jalisco) S, including Pearl Is (S Panama), to Colombia and W Venezuela.
  • C. a. cabanisii (Tschudi, 1846) – W Colombia and W Ecuador S, W of Andes, to S Peru, rarely to N Chile (Arica).
  • C. a. americana (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – E of Andes from Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago S to NE Bolivia and E across N & C Brazil (S to Amazonas, Rondônia, S Pará and Bahia).
  • C. a. mathewsii Laubmann, 1927 – S Brazil (Mato Grosso, Goiás, Minas Gerais) and S Bolivia to C Argentina (Mendoza, N Buenos Aires).
  • Descriptive notes

    18.5–20.5 cm; male 29–40 g, female 33–55 g; wingspan 28–33 cm. Adult male black lores, white collar; remaining upperparts dark green with bronze reflections on... read more


    Dry rasping, often followed by sputter, “dzeew dzeew kuk-kuk-kuk dzeew”; clicking sound... read more


    Streams in woodland, muddy puddles in riverbeds, rocky watercourses, deep turbid rivers, pools in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small fish (Characidae), crustaceans, prawns (Palaemonidae, Penaeus aztecus), also insects including dragonfly nymphs (Odonata),... read more


    Lays in Apr in Texas; in Mar, probably Jan–May, in Mexico; in Feb–Apr in Costa Rica; in Nov–Feb in Panama; in May–... read more


    Generally perceived to be sedentary, although has been reported from the N Lesser Antilles.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, utilizing many habitats, and frequently common. In Colombia and Bolivia, densities found to vary: 0·4–3... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2020). Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana). 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 24 February 2020).