Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)


French: Martin-pêcheur pie German: Graufischer Spanish: Martín pescador pío
Other common names: Lesser Pied Kingfisher

Alcedo rudis


, 1758,



Authorship of race travancoreensis previously given erroneously as Whistler & Kinnear#R. Populations from Turkey and Levant countries E to SW Iran described as race syriacus, but differences from nominate considered questionable; further study needed. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. rudis (Linnaeus, 1758) – C & S Turkey and Israel to Syria, Iraq and SW Iran, also N Egypt and Nile Valley, and sub-Saharan Africa (except arid regions).
  • C. r. leucomelanurus Reichenbach, 1851 – NE Afghanistan, W Pakistan and India (except SW) S to Sri Lanka, and E to Thailand and Indochina.
  • C. r. travancoreensis Whistler, 1935 – SW India (from N Kerala S to Cape Comorin).
  • C. r. insignis E. J. O. Hartert, 1910 – SE China, including Hainan.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–30·5 cm; male 68–100 g, female 71–110 g. Distinctive medium-sized kingfisher with black-and-white plumage. Male nominate race black crown and... read more


    Alert call, frequently given in flight or from perch, “kwik-kwik” or “chirruk,... read more


    Small and large lakes, large rivers, estuaries, coastal lagoons, mangroves and sandy and rocky... read more

    Food and feeding

    Largely fish in Africa, including Engraulicypris argenteus, Haplochromis, Barbus and Clarius at L... read more


    Lays in Aug–Sept in Turkey, in Jun in Iraq, in Mar–Jun in Kashmir; mainly Feb–Apr in N India and mainly Nov–Apr in... read more


    Generally sedentary. Many reports of seasonal changes in abundance, but these likely to be in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread, and one of the most numerous kingfishers in the world. Densities of 9–16 individuals/km were reported along the Kazinga Channel in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis). 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 18 October 2019).