Banded Kingfisher
A male with prey
Range Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Brunei.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae
Genus Lacedo
Species Lacedo pulchella
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Banded kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella), is a species of tree kingfisher found in the lowland tropical forests of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Brunei. It is extinct in Singapore. It is the only member of the genus Lacedo.



A female with prey

The banded kingfisher is a 20 cm long kingfisher with a sturdy red bill and a short crest which is slowly raised and lowered. It shows striking sexual dimorphism compared to most of its relatives. The adult male has a chestnut forehead, cheeks and nape, and a bright blue cap. The rest of the upperparts, wings and tail are black with blue bands. The breast, flanks and undertail are rufous, and the central belly is white.

The adult female is equally striking, with black-and-rufous-banded upperparts, and white underparts with some black bars on the chest and flanks. Young birds are duller than the adult of the same sex, have a brown and orange bill, and dusky barring on the underparts.

The call is a long whistled wheeeoo followed by 15 repetitions of chiwiu in 17 seconds, the second syllable gradually fading away. The banded kingfisher will respond to imitations of its call.

There are three subspecies:

  • Lacedo pulchella amabilis: Breeds from northern Malaysia northwards. It is slightly larger than the nominate form. The male has a blue nape, and the female is more rufous than pulchella.
  • Lacedo pulchella melanops: Breeds in Brunei. The male has a black forehead, cheeks and nape.
  • Lacedo pulchella pulchella: The nominate race, breeds in Malaysia south of 7°N, Sumatra and Java.


This is a bird of lowland rainforest found up to 1700 m in Brunei, but normally below 1100 m altitude in the rest of its range. Unlike most kingfishers, it does not need pools or streams in its territory.

The nest is a hole in a rotting tree trunk, or sometimes in the spherical nest of tree termites. Two to five white eggs are laid.

The banded kingfisher hunts large insects and occasionally small lizards, usually taken in the trees, but sometimes from the ground.


This species is uncommon but widespread in much of its range. It is rare in Java, very rare in Sumatra and extinct in Singapore.

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