Green Kingfisher

Range Map
Chloroceryle americana

Green Kingfishers are the smallest member of the family Alcedinidae in the New World. Regularly found in south Texas, we sometimes find these birds in southern Arizona. These birds prefer brush-lined clear water streams or ponds to hunt for aquatic prey.

Science recognizes five subspecies of Green Kingfisher. Only C. a. hachisukai and C. a. septentrionalis find their way into the USA.

  • C. a. hachisukai is resident as far north as southern Arizona and west Texas, and range as far south as south-central Mexico.
  • C. a. septentrionalis lives from the lower Rio Grande Valley in the north, eastern Mexico and through Central America to northern South America.
  • C. a. americana ranges from northern South America east of the Andes and as far south as Brasil. We also find them in the Caribbean on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • C. a. cabanisii lives on the western slopes of the Andes from Colombia to northern Chile. We find
  • C. a. mathewsii in southern Bolivia and Brasil, east of the Andes and south to northern Argentina.

My first meeting with the Green Kingfisher was in early 2021 at Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville (Texas). In August 2022, I returned to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and I stayed through most of September. It was my good fortune to get invited by good friends at the National Butterfly Center in Mission (Texas) to ride their boat up nine miles of the Rio Grande, where the border wall ends. We saw all three kingfishers on our afternoon jaunt, including this bird.

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