Oriental dwarf kingfisher Ceyx erithaca, copyright Shantanu Kuveskar.

Belongs within: Alcedines.
Contains: Alcedo.

The Alcedinidae, river kingfishers, are a group of small, brightly coloured kingfishers found in Eurasia, Africa and Australasia. They may be piscivorous or insectivorous, with the bill being black in piscivorous forms and red in insectivorous species. Members include the three-toed kingfishers of the genus Ceyx, in which one of the forward-pointing toes of other genera has mostly been lost (a vestigial fourth toe is present in the Sulawesi dwarf kingfisher C. fallax). Species of Ceyx as currently recognised are found in southern Asia and Australasia. African species previously included in this genus are now classified the genera Ispidina and Corythornis. Ispidina includes the African pygmy kingfisher I. picta and African dwarf kingfisher I. lecontei, both of which have a blue back, rufous underparts, white throat and red bill. Ispidina picta has a blue crown whereas I. lecontei has a rufous crown with a black front. Most species of Corythornis are similarly blue above and rufous below except the Madagascan kingfisher Corythornis madagascariensis which is rufous with white underparts.

<==Alcedinidae [Alcedininae]
    |  i. s.: Caridonax fulgidus JT12
    |         Streptoceryle S18
    |           |--S. alcyon S18
    |           `--S. torquata S18
    |--Ispidina Kaup 1848 BKB15, B94 [Ispidininae]
    |    |--I. lecontei BKB15 [=Ceyx lecontei JT12]
    |    `--I. picta BKB15 [=Ceyx pictus JT12]
    `--+--Corythornis BKB15
       |    |--C. madagascariensis BKB15 [=Ceyx madagascariensis JT12]
       |    `--+--C. vintsioides BKB15 [=Alcedo vintsioides JT12]
       |       `--+--C. cristatus (Pallas 1764) BKB15, S05 (see below for synonymy)
       |          `--C. leucogaster BKB15 [=Alcedo leucogaster JT12]
       `--+--Alcedo BKB15
          `--Ceyx Lacépède 1799 BKB15, B94 [Ceycinae]
               |  i. s.: C. tridactyla S89
               |--C. fallax JT12
               |    |--C. f. fallax R02
               |    `--C. f. sangirensis R02
               `--+--+--C. pusillus BKB15 [=Alcedo pusilla JT12; incl. A. pusilla halmaherae J06]
                  |  |    |--C. p. pusillus M03
                  |  |    |--‘Alcedo’ p. halli M03
                  |  |    `--‘Alcedo’ p. ramsayi M03
                  |  `--+--C. azureus (Latham 1801) BKB15, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
                  |     |    |--C. a. azureus M03
                  |     |    |--‘Alcedo’ a. diemenensis M03
                  |     |    `--‘Alcedo’ a. ruficollaris M03
                  |     `--C. websteri BKB15 [=Alcedo websteri JT12]
                  `--+--C. melanurus JT12
                     `--+--+--C. erithaca JT12
                        |  `--C. rufidorsa JT12
                        `--+--C. lepidus JT12
                           `--+--C. argentatus BKB15 [=Alcedo argentata JT12]
                              `--C. cyanopectus BKB15 [=Alcedo cyanopectus JT12]

Ceyx azureus (Latham 1801) BKB15, WS48 [=Alcedo azurea WS48; incl. Alcyone azurea alisteri Mathews 1912 WS48]

Corythornis cristatus (Pallas 1764) BKB15, S05 [=Alcedo cristata JT12; incl. A. cyanostigma Rüppell 1837 S05]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[J06] Johnstone, R. E. 2006. The birds of Gag Island, Western Papuan islands, Indonesia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2): 115–132.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[R02] Riley, J. 2002. Population sizes and the status of endemic and restricted-range bird species on Sangihe Island, Indonesia. Bird Conservation International 12: 53–78.

[S05] Steinheimer, F. D. 2005. Eduard Rüppel’s avian types at the Natural History Museum, Tring (Aves). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (2): 233–264.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239–280.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 5 August 2019.

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