Green Kingfisher
Range southern Texas in the United States south through Central and South America to central Argentina.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae
Genus Chloroceryle
Species Chloroceryle americana
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Green kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana), is a species of resident breeding water kingfisher which occurs from southern Texas in the United States south through Central and South America to central Argentina.

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

The green kingfisher is 19 cm (7.5 in) long and weighs 27 g (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.

1280px-Chloroceryle americana - female


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.

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. These birds often give a pebbly rattling call.


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

  • Chloroceryle americana americana (Gmelin, 1788): occupying northern South America east of the Andes, south to Bolivia and Brazil
  • Chloroceryle americana cabanisii (Tschudi, 1846): occurring in north Chile and Peru into west Ecuador and Colombia, where it merges with americana
  • Chloroceryle americana hachisukai (Laubmann, 1941): occurring from the southwestern United States to Mexico, where it merges into the next subspecies
  • Chloroceryle americana mathewsii (Laubmann, 1941): occupying the area south of americana, to north Argentina
  • Chloroceryle americana septentrionalis (Sharpe, 1892): occurring from Mexico to Venezuela, 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.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.