Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (ODK)


Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is also known as Black-backed kingfisher or three toed kingfisher. It is the smallest kingfisher. It measures around 13 cms and weighs around 14 gms. This tiny bird is extremely colourful with powerful bill.

In this article we will explore where to spot this bird, and learn more about its habits and habitat.

Habitat: Best places to spot Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is endemic across much of Southeast Asia, South China and the Indian Subcontinent. The preferred small water streams in densely shaded forests for habitat. During breeding season it is found in southwest region of India, Konkan.


Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher burrows a nest on bank. The nest is a horizontal tunnel up to one meter in length. Both male and female take part in nest construction. The tunnel is burrowed with legs. The bird hollows it out into a narrow chamber at the end, in which eggs are laid.

Food Habits

ODK will find and locate itself near food source. It hunts from perch like other kingfishers. It mainly feeds on insects, as well as on small lizards and frogs. This bird will hit its prey against tree stump or stone so as to kill it, before eating.

Plumage: How does this bird look?

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is most brightly coloured kingfisher. The head is orange with violet wash on both sides. It has bluish black upperparts with glossy blue lines. The throat is white while the underparts are yellow. The bill and feet are orange. Both male and female look similar. Juveniles are less colourful.


Breeding season starts in June with the onset of southwest monsoon. The clutch contains 3 to 6 eggs. Incubation period is around 17 days. Incubation is done by both the parents. Young ones fledge away by 20 days.


  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata
  • Class – Aves
  • Order – Coraciiformes
  • Family – Alcedinidae
  • Subfamily – Alcedininae
  • Genus – Ceyx
  • Species – C. erithaca
  • Binomial name – Ceyx erithaca

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