dirfd — get directory stream file descriptor


#include <sys/types.h>
#include <dirent.h>

int dirfd(DIR *dirp);

Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):


/* Since glibc 2.10: */ _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
   || /* Glibc versions <= 2.19: */ _BSD_SOURCE || _SVID_SOURCE


The function dirfd() returns the file descriptor associated with the directory stream dirp.

This file descriptor is the one used internally by the directory stream. As a result, it is useful only for functions which do not depend on or alter the file position, such as fstat(2) and fchdir(2). It will be automatically closed when closedir(3) is called.

Return Value

On success, a nonnegative file descriptor is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errno is set to indicate the cause of the error.


POSIX.1-2008 specifies two errors, neither of which is returned by the current implementation.


dirp does not refer to a valid directory stream.


The implementation does not support the association of a file descriptor with a directory.


For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see attributes(7).

Interface Attribute Value
dirfd() Thread safety MT-Safe

Conforming to

POSIX.1-2008. This function was a BSD extension, present in 4.3BSD-Reno, not in 4.2BSD.

See Also

open(2), closedir(3), opendir(3), readdir(3), rewinddir(3), scandir(3), seekdir(3), telldir(3)


This page is part of release 5.04 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.

Referenced By

opendir(3), perl5220delta(1), perlfunc(1), readdir(3).

2016-03-15 Linux Programmer's Manual