Wild Birds

Green Kingfishers

The Green Kingfishers, Chloroceryle americana, is a resident breeding bird that occurs from southern Texas in the USA south through Central and South America to central Argentina.

Breeding / Nesting

These small kingfishers breed by streams in forests or mangroves. The nest is in a horizontal tunnel up to a metre long made on a river bank. The female lays three, sometimes four, eggs.


The Green Kingfishers is 19 centimetres (7.5 in) long and weighs 27 grams (0.95 oz). It has the typical kingfisher shape, with a short tail and long bill. It is oily green above, with white markings on the wings and tail, and a white collar around the neck.

Males have white underparts apart from a broad chestnut breast band and some green spotting on the flanks. Females have buff-white underparts with two green chest bands, the lower of which links to the green spotting along the sides of the belly.

Diet / FeedingGreen Kingfisher

Green Kingfishers are often seen perched on a low shaded branch close to water before plunging in head first after their fish prey. They also eat aquatic insects.

Calls / Vocalizations

These birds often give a pebbly rattling call.

More Kingfisher Articles: Kingfisher InformationKingfisher Species Photo GalleryRiver KingfishersTree KingfishersWater KingfishersCommon Kingfishers


Variation in this species is clinal. There are five subspecies:

  • americana occupying northern South America east of the Andes, south to Bolivia and Brazil
  • mathewsii occupying the area south of americana, to north Argentina
  • hachisukai occurs from the southwestern United States to Mexico, where it merges into the next subspecies
  • septentrionalis occurring from Mexico to Venezuela, where it merges with americana
  • cabanisii occurring in north Chile and Peru into west Ecuador and Colombia, where it merges with americana

Birds occurring on Trinidad and Tobago, usually included in americana, have a larger and heavier bill than the mainland forms and are sometimes separated as subspecies croteta

Green Kingfisher


  1. BirdLife International (2008). In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 13 May 2010.
  2. Fry, C Hilary; Fry, Kathie; Harris, Alan (1992). Kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 226–8. ISBN 0-7136-8028-8.
  3. ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition ed.). London: Christopher Helm. p. 239. ISBN 0-7136-3518-5.
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.
Green Kingfisher, Chloroceryle americana - Young Male

External links

  • USGS
  • Stamps (for El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Suriname) with RangeMap

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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