Crested dwarf fishermen

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Crested dwarf fishermen
Malachite Kingfisher 1.jpg

Crested dwarf fisherman ( Corythornis cristatus )

Class : Birds (aves)
Order : Rockers (Coraciiformes)
Family : Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Subfamily : Common Kingfishers (Alcedininae)
Genre : Corythornis
Type : Crested dwarf fishermen
Scientific name
Corythornis cristatus
( Pallas , 1764)

The malachite kingfisher ( Corythornis cristatus , Syn. : Alcedo cristata ), also Malachite Kingfisher called, is a bird art belonging to the kingfishers belongs (Alcedinidae).

He lives in inland waters, ie rivers, lakes and wetlands, and in Africa south of the Sahara , from Senegal and Ethiopia to South Africa , is widespread.


It becomes 13 to 14 centimeters long. The parting is striped ultramarine blue and black. He usually wears his eponymous cobalt blue feather hood on. The blue of the parting extends to the eyes. The back is ultramarine blue, the throat white, the sides and belly orange. The different blue of the bonnet and the crown and the back are an unmistakable characteristic of the species. The beak of the young birds is blackish, that of the adult birds is red.

Corythornis cristatus

Way of life


Like the native kingfisher , the crested dwarf fisherman is a shock diver and can be found in all types of water, often also in mangroves . It prefers sitting areas that are less than 1 m above the water and, compared to other kingfisher species with which it shares its habitat, rather shallower water areas for hunting. The malachite kingfisher feeds on small fish and large freshwater insect larvae ( dragonfly larvae ), but also captured freshwater crabs and freshwater shrimp, frogs and tadpoles and occasionally small lizards and terrestrial insects such as locusts or mantis .


His reputation is a sharp, but not very loud teep, teep . The chant is described as ii-tiii-cha-cha, chui chui tuiichui chui with a concluding giggle.


The crested dwarf fisherman breeds in self-dug caves in sandy banks. Both adult birds take part in the digging work. For the construction of their breeding caves they prefer sandy sediments with a moderate proportion of clay and silt fractions. The choice represents a compromise between the ease with which the ground can be worked by the birds and the stability of the completed breeding cave ("Heneberg compromise").

The females lay 2–4 eggs, which are incubated in the burrow for 15–16 days. The hatched young birds remain in the breeding cave for a further 16–17 days. In other sources the clutch size is given as 3–6 eggs. The breeding season can stretch over 4–6 months and individual pairs can breed several times per season.


Web links

Commons : Corythornis cristatus  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d C. H. Fry, K. Fry & A. Harris: Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers. 344 pp., A&C Black Publishers, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7136-5206-2 (reading sample)
  2. C. Bonnington, D. Weaver & E. Fanning: The habitat preference of four kingfisher species along a branch of the Kilombero River, southern Tanzania. In: African Journal of Ecology , Vol. 46, pp. 424–427, 2007. (digitized version )
  3. R. Libois & A. Laudelout: Food niche segregation between the Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata, and the Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis, at Lake Nokoué, Benin. In: Ostrich , Vol. 75, pp. 32–38, 2004. (digitized version)
  4. R. Kisasa Kafutshi & JA Komanda: The impact of soil texture on the selection of nesting sites by the Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedinidae: Alcedo cristata Pallas 1764). In: Ostrich , Vol. 82, No. 3, pp. 243–246, 2011. (digitized version)
  5. ^ I. Smalley, R. Blake-Smalley, K. O'Hara-Dhand, Z. Jary & Z. Svircev: Sand martins favor loess: How the properties of loess ground facilitate the nesting of sand martins / bank swallows / uferschwalben ( Riparia riparia Linnaeus 1758). In: Quaternary International , Vol. 296, pp. 216–219, 2013. (digitized version )
  6. R. Kisasa Kafutshi: Contribution à l'étude de la biology de reproduction du Martin-Pêcheur huppé Alcedo cristata. In: Malimbus , Vol. 34, pp. 92–101, 2012. (digitized version )