Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Principe Kingfisher (Corythornis nais)


French: Martin-pêcheur de Principé German: Principezwergfischer Spanish: Martín pescador de Príncipe

Alcedo Nais


, 1848,



Previously placed in Alcedo. Has often been considered a race of either C. leucogaster or C. cristatus; seems closer to former in habits and habitat, but more similar to latter in certain aspects of its plumage. Recent phylogenetic study found that nais is genetically very closely related to C. cristatus, sequence divergence between them being only 0.9%, suggesting that treatment of nais as a race of that species may be more appropriate#R; on the other hand, it differs noticeably from both cristatus and leucogaster in plumage details and morphology, and provisional treatment as a separate species is preferred here, pending further research. Monotypic.


Príncipe, in Gulf of Guinea.

Descriptive notes

13 cm; 15 g. Both sexes chestnut lores, ear-coverts and neck side, white neck blaze; crown and upperparts ultramarine-blue, crown with black bands; chin and throat white,... read more


Short “tsip” and, on take-off, disyllabic “tsi-vit”; “tsiirrirrirri... read more


Aquatic habitats on Príncipe somewhat limited, so found more frequently in open areas, far from... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects, such as cockroaches (Blattoidea) and grasshoppers (Orthoptera); also small fish; also spiders, earthworms (Oligo­chaeta... read more


Lays in Sept–Feb, juvenile being fed by adult end Jan. In courtship, mutual chasing while calling, with constant changes of perch,... read more


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Príncipe EBA. Although very restricted in distribution, it is widespread throughout Príncipe, and reported to be... read more

Recommended citation

Woodall, P.F. (2019). Principe Kingfisher (Corythornis nais). 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 November 2019).