Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Shining-blue Kingfisher (Alcedo quadribrachys)


French: Martin-pêcheur azuré German: Schillereisvogel Spanish: Martín pescador brillante

Alcedo quadribrachys


, 1850,



Recent study suggested that this species is closest to A. semitorquata, these two being sister to A. atthis and A. coerulescens#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. q. quadribrachys Bonaparte, 1850 – Senegambia to W Nigeria (E to R Niger).
  • A. q. guentheri Sharpe, 1892 – SE Nigeria E to extreme S South Sudan and Uganda (L Victoria), and S to N Angola and NW Zambia.
  • Descriptive notes

    16 cm; male 33–36 g, female 32–40 g. Male nominate race buffy loral spot, cream neck patch, head and wings black with glossy ultramarine tips, mantle to uppertail... read more


    High-pitched “cheet” given mainly in flight, and repeated high-pitched “seet-seet... read more


    Lagoons, estuaries and mangroves on the coast, and reedbeds, papyrus swamps, streams, rivers, ponds... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fish to 6 cm in length, also aquatic insect larvae and small crabs. Searches for prey from a perch in reeds or overhanging branches... read more


    Lays in Sept in Nigeria, in Nov in Cameroon, in Dec–Mar in Gabon, in Mar in Congo, in Dec, Feb and Apr–Jul (mainly May) in... read more


    Generally sedentary; some indication of seasonal variation in numbers, e.g. absence during Mar... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common in forested areas. In Ghana, 50 pairs were counted along 48 km of river. No obvious threats.

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). Shining-blue Kingfisher (Alcedo quadribrachys). 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 17 November 2019).