Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis, Hainan, China, January. (Craig Brelsford)

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis insignis is resident in southeast China, including Hainan. Uncommon passage migrant and scattered breeder Shanghai. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Hovers above water, and also able to devour prey on wing; is able therefore to make use of larger bodies of water than other kingfishers. Noisy; often in pairs or small groups. ID & COMPARISON Large (but noticeably smaller than Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris), slender, black-and-white kingfisher. Has less prominent, flatter crest than Crested Kingfisher; crest emerges from hindcrown only, whereas in Crested Kingfisher covers entire crown. Mottled black and white above (larger scale than Crested); large white primary patch (missing in Crested). Prominent white supercilium; sides of neck also white, but divided by line from black face mask to nape. Underparts mainly white; male has two black breast bands, female a single broken breast band. Juvenile like female, but lores, throat, and breast fringed brown. BARE PARTS Bill long, black; feet black. VOICE Makes loud cheeping whistles from perch and in flight. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com covers every species of kingfisher in China. Click any link:

Crested Kingfisher
Crested Kingfisher

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis
Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda
Black-capped Kingfisher H. pileata
White-throated Kingfisher H. smyrnensis
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting
Common Kingfisher A. atthis
Blyth’s Kingfisher A. hercules
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca
Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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