Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda)


French: Martin-chasseur violet German: Feuerliest Spanish: Alción rojizo

Alcedo coromanda


, 1790,

Coromandel, India


A distinctive species, not apparently very closely related to others in the genus; has sometimes been separated in monospecific genus Entomothera. Race claudiae included in minor by some authors. Proposed race ochrothorectis is synonymized with major. Ten subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. c. major (Temminck & Schlegel, 1848) – extreme NE China (Jilin), Korea and Japan (Hokkaido S to Kyoto); migrates S to Philippines, Borneo and Talaud Is.
  • H. c. bangsi (Oberholser, 1915) – Ryukyu Is (S from Tokara Is); migrates S to Philippines and Talaud Is.
  • H. c. coromanda (Latham, 1790) – Nepal and West Bengal (NE India) E to N Myanmar, SC China (S Yunnan) and N Vietnam, and S to S Thailand; N populations winter S to Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Java.
  • H. c. mizorhina (Oberholser, 1915) – Andaman Is; putative specimen from Nicobars not accepted#R.
  • H. c. minor (Temminck & Schlegel, 1848) – S Thailand (from about Isthmus of Kra) S to Sumatra (including Simeulue I, Batu Is, Mentawai Is), Riau Archipelago, Bangka and Belitung, Java and Borneo.
  • H. c. linae Hubbard & duPont, 1974 – Palawan (SW Philippines).
  • H. c. claudiae Hubbard & duPont, 1974 – Tawitawi and Sanga-Sanga (Sulu Archipelago).
  • H. c. rufa Wallace, 1863 – Talaud and Sangihe Is S to Sulawesi and offshore islands (Talisei, Lembeh, Togian Is, Muna, Butung).
  • H. c. pelingensis Neumann, 1939 – Banggai Is (Peleng, Banggai, Labobo).
  • H. c. sulana Mees, 1970 – Sula Is (Taliabu, Seho, Mangole, Sanana).
  • Descriptive notes

    25–27 cm; male 73–80 g, unsexed adults 60–92 g (Peninsular Malaysia). Medium-sized, rather distinctive, but shy kingfisher. Both sexes nominate race rufous-... read more


    Descending sequence of 4–5 loud, mournful whistles and a tremulous “quirrr-r-r-r-r” in... read more


    In N temperate parts of range inhabits dense evergreen forest and temperate woodland around... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variable, depending on habitat: in terrestrial habitats insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers and locusts (Orthoptera),... read more


    Lays in Jun in S Korea, in Jun–Jul and possibly Aug in Japan; in Apr–May, possibly from Mar, in India; in May in S Peninsular... read more


    Resident in S of range; some breeders in Malaysia remained at same site for at least six years.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very widespread, but generally considered rare or uncommon, although this possibly due to its shy, retiring habits. Occurs in several... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda). 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 22 October 2019).