Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

White-bellied Kingfisher (Corythornis leucogaster)


French: Martin-pêcheur à ventre blanc German: Weißbauch-Zwergfischer Spanish: Martín pescador ventriblanco

Halcyon leucogaster


, 1843,

Clarence, Bioko


Previously placed in Alcedo. Recent molecular studies, however, indicate that it is part of the Corythornis lineage (see C. cristatus); sister to the pair C. cristatus (with thomensis and nais) and C. vintsioides#R. Population from S Nigeria to N Angola formerly separated as race batesi, but appears indistinguishable from nominate. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. l. bowdleri (Neumann, 1908) – SW Mali (Mandingo Mts), and Guinea to S Ghana.
  • C. l. leucogaster (Fraser, 1843) – Nigeria to S Cameroon, Bioko I, Gabon and NW Angola.
  • C. l. leopoldi (A. J. C. Dubois, 1905) – Congo Basin in S Central African Republic and from DRCongo E to S Uganda (Sango Bay, Mabira Forest) and S to NW Zambia.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; male 14·5 g, female 14·7 g. Both sexes nominate race chestnut cheeks and ear-coverts, white stripe on side of neck, eyestripe rufous with lilac tinge; crown and wings... read more


    Not recorded.


    Dense primary and secondary forest, gallery forest, dense thickets along streams, wooded and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds equally on fish and insects; insects include dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), aquatic insect larvae, cockroaches (Blattoidea),... read more


    Lays in Jul and Oct in Cameroon, in Dec or possibly earlier in Gabon. Nest in a streamside bank or in sloping ground. Clutch 2 eggs; no... read more


    Probably mainly sedentary. Vagrants recorded in NW Zambia and N Nigeria suggest that some birds... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Has a wide distribution in several habitats. Although generally uncommon, this species is often overlooked; it has been found to be locally common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). White-bellied Kingfisher (Corythornis leucogaster). 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 21 February 2019).