Amazon Kingfisher Bird: Profile, Facts, Range, Nest, Call, Size

amazon kingfisher

The Amazon Kingfisher, scientifically known as Chloroceryle amazona, claims its domain amidst the lush lowlands of the American tropics, a vibrant tapestry stretching from the southern realms of Mexico down to the verdant landscapes of northern Argentina. Its presence is woven intricately into the rich tapestry of this region, where dense foliage and meandering waterways form the backdrop for its existence.  This article will give an overview of amazon kingfisher facts, predators, sound, and call. Keep reading.

Amazon Kingfisher Bird: Profile, Facts, Range, Nest, Call, Size

From the emerald canopies of Central American rainforests to the tranquil riverbanks of the Amazon basin, this avian monarch holds sway over a diverse array of habitats. With a penchant for the serenity of slow-moving streams and secluded ponds, it graces these watery realms with its vivid presence, adding a splash of color to the verdant scenery. Whether perched majestically on overhanging branches or skimming gracefully over mirrored waters, the Amazon Kingfisher epitomizes the harmony between avian grace and natural beauty.

Physical Characteristics

Dressed in a regal palette of azure and russet, the Amazon Kingfisher stands as a testament to nature’s artistry. Its sleek form, adorned with hues reminiscent of a tropical sunrise, captivates the eye and stirs the imagination. With a stout beak designed for swift and deadly strikes, it is a master of piscine pursuit, effortlessly diving into the depths to claim its aquatic prey. Its wings, a study in aerodynamic perfection, carry it with silent grace through the verdant corridors of its domain. From the tip of its pointed crest to the end of its intricately patterned tail, every aspect of its physique speaks to millennia of evolutionary refinement, culminating in a creature perfectly attuned to its watery realm.

Behavioral Adaptations

Beyond its captivating appearance, the Amazon Kingfisher exhibits a repertoire of behavioral adaptations that further enhance its prowess as a predator and survivor in its lush habitat. Possessing keen eyesight honed by countless generations of hunting along sun-dappled streams, it effortlessly discerns the slightest ripple betraying the presence of potential prey.

Patient and vigilant, it waits in silent contemplation, poised to execute its lightning-fast assault at the opportune moment. Its distinctive call, a melodic yet authoritative trill, serves not only to stake its claim over territory but also to communicate with potential mates in the dense foliage of its verdant realm. With each dive and each resounding call, the Amazon Kingfisher reaffirms its status as a monarch of the waters, a creature both captivating and enigmatic in its splendor.

Physical Characteristics and Comparison

The Amazon Kingfisher, though sharing a resemblance with its lesser-experienced cousin, possesses distinct physical attributes that set it apart in the avian kingdom. Towering over its relative in size, it dwarfs the typical dimensions of a kingfisher, measuring an impressive 30 centimeters (12 inches) in length and tipping the scales at a weight ranging between 98 to 140 grams (3.5 to 4.9 ounces). This grandeur lends it an air of majesty as it surveys its domain from its lofty perch. In contrast, the common kingfisher appears diminutive in comparison, like a mere echo of its larger counterpart, with a size averaging three to four times less.

Habitat and Distribution

The Amazon Kingfisher stakes its claim across the tropical lowlands of southern Mexico, extending its realm southward through the verdant corridors of Central America to the lush landscapes of northern Argentina. Despite their non-migratory nature, these avian monarchs occasionally stray beyond their customary borders, with reports of sightings as far north as Texas attesting to their wanderlust spirit.

However, caution is advised when interpreting records from Trinidad, as information from this region is deemed unreliable. Preferring the expansive reaches of large rivers, Amazon Kingfishers carve out their niche amidst the riparian landscapes, where the abundance of fish and the tranquil flow of waterways provide an ideal setting for their piscivorous pursuits. Thus, whether perched along the banks of mighty rivers or hidden amidst the verdant foliage of tropical lowlands, the Amazon Kingfisher reigns supreme as a sentinel of the waters, a symbol of resilience and adaptability in the face of ever-changing landscapes.

Plumage and Markings

Adorned in a vibrant palette of colors reminiscent of the verdant landscapes it calls home, the Amazon Kingfisher presents a striking sight to behold. Its plumage, resplendent in oily greens, forms a seamless blend with the lush foliage of its habitat, providing camouflage amidst the verdant canopy. A shaggy crest adorns its head, adding a touch of regal elegance to its appearance, while a distinctive white collar encircles its neck, serving as a beacon of contrast against the verdant backdrop. Unlike its cousin, the green kingfisher, it lacks the telltale white markings on its wings, further distinguishing it as a sovereign presence in its realm.

Typical Kingfisher Characteristics

Despite its grandeur and unique markings, the Amazon Kingfisher retains the quintessential features characteristic of its royal lineage. Its petite yet robust frame boasts dark blue or green wings, tail, and head, a vibrant testament to nature’s artistry. Maintaining the traditional kingfisher form, it sports a short tail and a formidable elongated bill, the hallmark of its predatory prowess.

This bill, reminiscent of a finely honed dagger, serves as a lethal instrument in the pursuit of its aquatic prey, a testament to the evolutionary adaptations honed through millennia of survival in its watery domain. Thus, the Amazon Kingfisher stands as a majestic embodiment of both regal grace and predatory efficiency, a monarch of the waters and a marvel of the avian world.

Bill and Body Proportions

The Amazon Kingfisher’s anatomy presents a curious juxtaposition, with its bill appearing disproportionate to the rest of its body. However, this seemingly incongruous feature serves a vital purpose in the bird’s survival strategy. Fashioned like a finely crafted spear, the elongated bill is a specialized tool designed for impaling and capturing prey with deadly precision. Despite its apparent disproportionality, the bill stands as a testament to the intricate evolutionary adaptations that have sculpted the kingfisher into a formidable predator of the waterways.

Limb Structure and Support

In addition to its distinctive bill, the Amazon Kingfisher boasts a unique limb structure tailored to its arboreal lifestyle. With short legs and a broad, stout tail, it navigates the intricate network of branches and foliage with ease and agility. These robust appendages provide stability and support, allowing the kingfisher to maintain its balance even amidst the swaying boughs of its forested domain. Whether perched on overhanging branches or skimming gracefully over mirrored waters, the bird’s sturdy legs serve as a reliable foundation for its aerial pursuits.

Sexual Dimorphism in Plumage

The Amazon Kingfisher exhibits striking sexual dimorphism in its plumage, with distinct variations between males and females. Males flaunt a resplendent coat of feathers, characterized by white underparts punctuated by a broad chestnut breast band and subtle green streaks adorning the flanks. This vibrant display serves not only to attract potential mates but also to assert dominance within the avian hierarchy. In contrast, females sport a more subdued plumage, lacking the vivid hues of their male counterparts. Their white underparts feature delicate green patches on the sides of the chest and subtle streaks of green along the flanks, a testament to the subtle nuances of nature’s palette.

Juvenile Plumage

As with many avian species, juvenile Amazon Kingfishers undergo a period of transition marked by distinctive plumage patterns. Resembling adult females in appearance, juvenile kingfishers display white spots on their wings, a distinguishing feature that sets them apart from their mature counterparts. This transitional phase reflects the gradual evolution from fledgling to fully-fledged predator, as the young kingfishers hone their hunting skills and adapt to the rigors of life in the wild.

Amazon Kingfisher Feeding Adaptations

Hunting Technique:

  • Amazon Kingfishers exhibit a typical hunting behavior of perching near water bodies and plunging headfirst to catch fish prey. They are also known to feed on insects, amphibians, small reptiles, and crustaceans.


  • With well-developed dark brown eyes capable of discerning colors and binocular vision, Amazon Kingfishers have excellent visual capabilities. They can move their eyes within their sockets to track prey underwater, compensating for refraction and reflection in the water, thus accurately perceiving the depth and location of their prey.

Ocular Protection:

  • The presence of nictitating membranes protects their eyes while diving into the water, ensuring their eyes remain safe during the hunting process.

Territorial Behavior:

  • Highly territorial, Amazon Kingfishers establish primary areas based on the availability of food sources, suitable perching trees, and safe roosting sites. They typically hunt during the mornings and evenings but may also hunt during mid-day if the weather is cooler.

Feeding Technique:

  • Kingfishers use their sharp bills to stab prey, either with their bills closed or open depending on the size of the prey. They kill their prey by beating them against a surface to shatter the bones before swallowing them whole, often headfirst to prevent injury from bones or scales.

Adaptation to Prey Size:

  • Despite appearing too large for their mouths, Kingfishers can consume prey larger than expected, demonstrating their ability to manipulate and swallow prey effectively.

Cleaning Behavior:

  • Kingfishers maintain cleanliness by diving into the water to bathe and then perching to preen and dry their feathers in the sunlight. Some individuals even use their wings to clean their heads and bills, ensuring their bills remain in optimal condition for hunting.

Bill Maintenance:

  • Utilizing branches, Kingfishers scrape their bills forwards and backward to keep them in excellent condition, facilitating effective hunting and feeding.

The Amazon Kingfisher’s feeding adaptations highlight its specialized hunting techniques and remarkable visual and behavioral capabilities, enabling it to thrive in its aquatic habitat.

Amazon Kingfisher Bird: Profile, Facts, Range, Nest, Call, Size

Sexual Dimorphism in Plumage

Distinguishing between male and female Amazon Kingfishers relies significantly on the subtle nuances of their plumage. In males, the underparts gleam with a pristine white, contrasting boldly with a striking chestnut breast band that spans the breadth of their chests. Accentuating this regal attire are delicate streaks of green adorning their flanks, adding a touch of vibrancy to their majestic appearance.

Conversely, females exhibit a more understated elegance, with their white underparts punctuated by patches of subdued green along the sides of the chest and streaks of verdant hue tracing the contours of their flanks. These distinct plumage variations serve not only as markers of gender but also as visual cues within the intricate dynamics of courtship and territoriality among kingfisher populations.

Juvenile Plumage and Vocalizations

The transition from fledgling to adulthood in Amazon Kingfishers is marked by subtle yet significant changes in plumage and vocalizations. Young birds, resembling adult females in appearance, display a distinctive pattern of white spots adorning their wings, providing a visual clue to their age and developmental stage. Accompanying their physical transformation is the emergence of vocalizations characteristic of their species.

Emitting a harsh “teck” call, juvenile kingfishers assert their presence within the avian chorus of their habitat, gradually refining their vocal repertoire as they mature. Rarely heard but distinctive is the melodious song emanating from high perches, a whistled refrain of “see see see see”, echoing through the verdant canopy as a testament to the kingfisher’s elusive yet captivating presence.

Amazon Kingfisher Breeding and Nesting Adaptations

Nesting Habitat:

  • Amazon Kingfishers breed near streams, where they excavate horizontal tunnels in riverbanks to create their nests. These tunnels can be up to 1.6 meters long and 10 centimeters wide, providing a secure environment for nesting and raising their young.

Nest Construction:

  • Both male and female Amazon Kingfishers participate in nest construction, taking turns burrowing out the tunnel with their feet. The tunnel leads to a narrow chamber where the eggs are laid.

Nest Excavation Efforts:

  • The birds invest significant time and effort, spending between three and seven days to complete the tunnel excavation. Some birds may exert themselves forcefully during this process, leading to fatal injuries as they fly into the tunnels.

Egg Laying and Incubation:

  • The female typically lays three to four white eggs, and both parents take turns incubating the eggs. Incubation is crucial for the development of altricial hatchlings, ensuring they receive warmth and protection during their vulnerable stage.

Parental Care:

  • After hatching, the hatchlings are altricial and rely entirely on the care and feeding provided by the parents. The adults bring food into the nesting chamber to feed the chicks, which rapidly grow and become capable of moving towards the tunnel entrance to encounter the adults and wait for feeding.

Fledging and Independence:

  • Fledging, the process of the young leaving the nest, can last from a few days to several weeks. During this time, the parents continue to feed and care for the fledglings until they are capable of feeding themselves. Once independent, the young Amazon Kingfishers are ready to explore their surroundings and begin their journey to adulthood. How AI, ChatGPT maximizes earnings of many people in minutes

The Amazon Kingfisher’s breeding and nesting adaptations reflect its specialized behaviors and strategies for successfully raising offspring in its streamside habitat.

Habitat and Nesting Behavior

The Amazon Kingfisher, a majestic inhabitant of the riparian landscapes, favors breeding grounds nestled along the tranquil streams that meander through its verdant domain. Here, amidst the verdant foliage and gentle murmur of flowing waters, it crafts its nest—a simple yet meticulously constructed horizontal tunnel burrowed into the sandy banks of the river. Stretching up to 1.6 meters in length and measuring a mere 10 centimeters in width, this unlined chamber provides a snug sanctuary for the kingfisher’s brood. Within its confines, the female lays a clutch of three to four pristine white eggs, symbols of the cycle of life that unfolds amidst the fertile embrace of the riverine habitat.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

The Amazon Kingfisher’s feeding habits are a spectacle to behold, as it perches with regal poise on branches or rocky outcrops, surveying the shimmering waters below with keen anticipation. With lightning speed and unparalleled precision, it plunges headfirst into the depths, emerging triumphantly with its aquatic prey firmly clutched in its formidable bill.

While fish constitute a significant portion of its diet, these avian monarchs are versatile hunters, preying upon insects and amphibians with equal gusto. Their adeptness at capturing prey in such varied forms underscores their adaptability and resourcefulness in the dynamic ecosystem of their watery realm. Bird accessories on Amazon


The Amazon Kingfisher’s vocal repertoire is a symphony of sounds that reverberates through the lush canopy of its habitat, each notes a testament to its presence and vitality. Their characteristic call, often described as a sharp “teck” sound, pierces the tranquility of the riverside, serving as a beacon to fellow avians and a territorial declaration to rivals. However, the true melody of the Amazon Kingfisher’s song is a rare treasure, seldom heard by human ears.

From the lofty heights of treetops, a melodious refrain echoes through the verdant expanse—a whistled cadence of “see-see-see-see”—a whispered invocation to the mysteries of the natural world that surrounds them. Thus, through their calls and songs, Amazon Kingfishers weave a symphony of sound that harmonizes with the rhythms of the rivers they call home, a timeless testament to the enduring beauty of the wild.

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