Black-backed kingfisher

Black-backed kingfisher
Ceyx erithaca

Photo by Peter Ericsson (Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures)

Common name:
black-backed kingfisher (en); guarda-rios-anão-oriental (pt); martin-pêcheur pourpré (fr); martín pescador enano oriental (de); dschungelfischer (de)

Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae

This species is found across much of south-east Asia, from India to Indonesia.

These tiny kingfishers are 12-13 cm long and weigh 14 g.

The black-backed kingfisher is found in tropical rainforests, mangroves and tropical dry forests, mainly along rivers, streams and marshes. They can also be found in plantations. It is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.300 m.

They feed on geckos, skinks, crabs, snails, frogs, crickets and dragonflies.

These birds breed in June-September. The nest is a horizontal tunnel up to a metre in length, where the female lays 4-5 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 17 days and the chicks fledge 20 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range, but is described as scarce. The population is suspected to be declining locally owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but the black-backed kingfisher is not considered threatened at present.

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