Amazon Kingfisher

Amazon Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Male in Ibera Marshes, Argentina
Female in Goiania, Goias, Brazil
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Cerylidae
Genus: Chloroceryle
Species: C. amazona
Binomial name
Chloroceryle amazona
Latham, 1790

The Amazon Kingfisher, Chloroceryle amazona, is a resident breeding bird in the lowlands of the American tropics from southern Mexico south through Central America to northern Argentina, with at least one bird having strayed north to Texas. Records from Trinidad are thought to be erroneous.

This large kingfisher breeds by streams. The unlined nest is in a horizontal tunnel made in a river bank, and up to 1.6 m long and 10 cm wide. The female lays three, sometimes four, white eggs.

The Amazon Kingfisher resembles the Green Kingfisher which shares its range, but it is much larger than its relative, and three to four times as heavy. It is 29-30 cm long and weighs 110g. It has the typical kingfisher shape, with a short tail and long bill. It is oily green above, with a shaggy crest and a white collar around the neck. It lacks the white markings on the wings shown by Green Kingfisher.

Males have white underparts apart from a broad chestnut breast band and some green streaks on the flanks. Females have white underparts with green patches on the side of the chest and green flank streaks. Young birds resemble the adult female, but have white spots on the wings. There are no recognised subspecies of Amazon Kingfisher.

These birds often give a harsh teck call. The rarely heard song, given from a tree top, is a whistled see see see see.

Amazon Kingfishers are often seen perched on a branch or rock close to water before plunging in head first after their fish prey. They are the most likely green kingfisher to be seen on large rivers. They also feed on insects and amphibians.


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