Donate Take Action

Join us


Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis

This boldly patterned, black-and-white bird is the only kingfisher that regularly fishes offshore. Instead of watching for prey from a perch, as many other kingfisher species do, it flies rapidly above the surface with its head facing down as it scans the water below. If it spots food, it hovers on the spot, and then dives down to make a catch. It can also eat while in flight, another unique adaptation. Male and female pied kingfishers look similar, although the female has a double breast band compared to the male’s single band. Pairs nest in burrows in sandy banks and are often helped by the previous year’s young to collect food for the nestlings. The adults have a loud, high-pitched call, which may be heard as they speed past.

Pied Kingfisherzoom image
  • Order Coraciiformes
  • Length 10 in (25 cm)
  • Weight 3 oz (90 g)
  • Habitat Coasts, lagoons, estuaries, rivers, marshes
  • Distribution Frica, Middle East, south Asia
Pied Kingfisher habitat mapzoom image