Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis)


French: Martin-chasseur du Sénégal German: Senegalliest Spanish: Alción senegalés
Other common names: Senegal Kingfisher

Alcedo senegalensis


, 1766,



Closely related to H. senegaloides. S race cyanoleuca has in the past been treated as a full species. Race fuscopileus sometimes merged with nominate. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. s. senegalensis (Linnaeus, 1766) – Senegambia E to Ethiopia and S to W Kenya, NW Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi; N birds migrate S in winter.
  • H. s. fuscopileus Reichenow, 1906 – Sierra Leone to S Nigeria, Bioko I (breeding not confirmed)#R and Congo Basin.
  • H. s. cyanoleuca (Vieillot, 1818) – W Tanzania S to Angola, N Namibia, N & E Botswana and NE South Africa; winters in equatorial Africa N to South Sudan.
  • Descriptive notes

    23 cm; male 41–60 g, female 55–64 g, in S Africa 60–81 g. Medium-sized kingfisher. Both sexes nominate race greyish crown, black lores, blue hindneck,... read more


    Single sharp “tiu” followed by loud fast trill lasting 2–3 seconds, slowing and... read more


    Woodland, riverine forest, wooded areas around human dwellings, and forest clearings and edges; in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly grasshoppers and locusts (Orthoptera, Acrididae), beetles (Buprestidae, Carabidae, Cerambycidae, Cetoniidae, Cicindelidae,... read more


    Lays in Mar–Sept, possibly also Oct, and Dec in N tropics, in Aug–Feb in Zaire, in Nov–Feb in Rwanda, in Nov–Dec in... read more


    Populations in equatorial forest (fuscopilea) sedentary; savanna populations also... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common in many parts of its range. Is able to breed in cleared areas, provided some large trees remain. Migrants are often killed at... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2020). Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis). 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 27 February 2020).