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Pied Kingfisher - Amboseli National Park - Wildlife in Kenya



Alcyon pie - Ceryle rudis


Physical Description


Ceryle rudis is a medium-sized kingfisher and has the distinctive kingfisher body type, with a large head, small body, small feet, and long, dagger-like bill. They have distinctive black and white coloration, spotted on the wings, and with a black crown on the head.


Pied kingfishers occur in sub-saharan African, the Middle East, the Asia mainland, and southern China. They are common in sub-saharan Africa, along the Nile, and east Egypt. In Pakistan, they are widely distributed across Punjab and the Sind plains. They are rare in Cyprus, Greece, and Poland.




The typical body length is 25 to 29 cm, wing length is 13.3 to 14.2 cm, and tail length is 6.6 to 7.4 cm. There are no size differences between male and female birds.

Geographic Range




Pied kingfishers live along streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries, irrigation ditches, canals, bays, floodlands, and reedy inlets. Near mountainous areas, they live in lower river valleys. They usually avoid mangroves and large swamps. The habitat of C. rudis ranges from seashores up to 2,500 m above sea level. They are less abundant near fast flowing waters.




Courtship involves dancing displays and males offering food to females. Dancing displays are gregarious and done with 3 to 12 males at one time. They noisily call to each other while holding their wings half spread and may also engage in fights by interlocking their beaks or holding their wings. Males attract females by offering food over a period of about three weeks.


Pied kingfishers breed in winter in northern and southern parts of their range and breed in any month near the equator. Pairs are monogamous, and both sexes assist in digging nest holes in soft earth.




Pied kingfishers primarily eat fish. Unlike other kingfishers, pied kingfishers swallow their fish in flight after plunging. Pied kingfishers may also take aquatic insects, crustaceans, and ,more rarely, amphibians and mollusks.


Conservation Status


Pied kingfishers are not currently threatened. They are rather abundant and are the most common species of kingfisher throughout their range.


Scientific Classification


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum:: Chordata

Subphylum:: Vertebrata

Class:: Aves

Order:: Coraciiformes

Family:: Alcedinidae

Species:: Ceryle rudis


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Taken on December 14, 2007