White-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis


Taxonomic note

Halcyon smyrnensis and H. gularis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as H. smyrnensis following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Least Concern
2014 Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency low
Land-mass type Average mass 91 g

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 24,700,000 km2
Severely fragmented? no -
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size unknown - - -
Population trend increasing - suspected -
Generation length 3.8 years - - -

Population justification: The global population size has not been quantified, though in Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 170-260 pairs, which equates to 340-520 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), with Europe forming <5% of the global range.

Trend justification: The species is suspected to be increasing owing to its ability to colonise gardens and palm oil plantations. Its range has expanded into Sumatra but it appears to be absent from Singapore where it previously occurred (del Hoyo et al. 2001). In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by at least 10% in 11.4 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Afghanistan extant native yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes
Bangladesh extant native yes
Bhutan extant native yes
Bulgaria extant vagrant
Cambodia extant native yes
China (mainland) extant native yes
Cyprus extant vagrant
Egypt extant native yes
Greece extant vagrant yes
Hong Kong (China) extant native yes
India extant native yes
Indonesia extant native yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes
Iraq extant native yes
Israel extant native yes
Jordan extant native yes
Kuwait extant native yes
Laos extant native yes
Lebanon extant native yes
Macao (China) extant native
Malaysia extant native yes
Myanmar extant native yes
Nepal extant native yes
Pakistan extant native yes
Palestine extant native yes
Qatar extant vagrant
Saudi Arabia extant native yes
Singapore extant native yes
Sri Lanka extant native yes
Syria extant native yes
Taiwan, China extant vagrant yes
Thailand extant native yes
Türkiye extant native yes
United Arab Emirates extant vagrant
Vietnam extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Türkiye Antalya Plains
Türkiye Göksu Delta
Türkiye Seyhan Delta
Türkiye Amanos Mountains

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches suitable resident
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Ponds (below 8ha) suitable resident
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Swamp suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches suitable resident
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 2000 m Occasional altitudinal limits (max) 5000 m

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Halcyon smyrnensis. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.