The group is treated either as a single family, Alcedinidae, or as a suborder Alcedines containing three families, Alcedinidae (river kingfishers), Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers), and Cerylidae (water kingfishers).
Kingfishers are found all over the world. Most Kingfishers lives in tropical areas (rainforests). They often make their nests near rivers where the water flows slowly. They make their nests in tall river banks. They dig a hole in the side of the river bank. Most Kingfishers lay 3 – 6 eggs each time.
Most Kingfishers eat fish. They sit on branches hanging over the river's edge and wait for a fish to appear. They then dive into the water to catch the fish. Some Kingfishers eat lizards or other reptiles. Kookaburras do this.
Most species are in the Australasian region, but the family did not originate there. They evolved in the Northern Hemisphere and invaded the Australasian region a number of times. Fossil kingfishers have been described from Lower Eocene rocks in Wyoming and Middle Eocene rocks in Germany, around 30-40 million years ago. More recent fossil kingfishers have been described in the Miocene rocks of Australia (5-25 million years old).
Kingfishers are easily harmed if there is a lot of snow and cold weather in winter. They can also die if humans cause a lot of water pollution or if the places where Kingfishers live are destroyed. Some kingfishers are endangered species
- Moyle, Robert G (2006). "A molecular phylogeny of Kingfishers (Alcedinidae) with insights into early biogeographic history". Auk 123 (2): 487–499. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2006)123[487:AMPOKA]2.0.CO;2.
- Woodall, Peter (2001). "Family Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)". In del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Sargatal, Jordi. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 6, Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 103–187. ISBN 978-84-87334-30-6.