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Forest Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Adult male, ssp macleayii
Photo © by Peter Day
Kadadu Northern Territory, Australia, May 2015
Adult male, ssp incinctus
Photo © by Peter Day
Lockhart River Queensland, Australia, June 2022
Todiramphus macleayii

Todirhamphus macleayii, Halcyon macleayii


20cm (8 in)
A black, white and two-toned blue kingfisher distinguished by large white lore spots between bill and eye.
Males have a broad white collar, but females have an incomplete white collar broken by blue hind-neck.
Juveniles have buffy lore spots and flanks.
Shows a conspicuous white wing patch in flight.

Similar Species

Photo © by macdoc
Tropical Australia, 19 April 2013

The black mask and white collar are similar to Mangrove Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, or Red-backed Kingfisher but Mangrove and Sacred are olive-green above and Red-backed has an orange rump.



Was previously Halcyon macleayii. The Sibley-Monroe spelling of the scientific name (Todirhamphus macleayii) is incorrect. Clements and Howard & Moore both use Todiramphus macleayii. More details in this discussion.


There are 3 subspecies[1]:

  • T. m. elisabeth:
  • T. m. macleayii (insularis):
  • T. m. incinctus :


Subspecies incinctus
Photo © by Ken Doy
Emerald, Queensland, November 2019

Marshes, open lowland forest and forest edges roadsides, wetlands, watercourses, vegetation, cane fields.


They are often seen sitting on power lines.


Diet consists mostly of insects including grasshoppers, stick-insects, cockroaches, and beetles. Also spiders, frogs, tadpoles and lizards.


Nests usually excavated in arboreal termitaria, but may use natural tree hollows. A short entrace burrow leads to a larger egg chamber. Clutch is three to six eggs.


Includes high rolling chatter, harsh strident calls, loud whistles and screeches.


Races elizabeth and nominate race are mostly resident, but race incinctus is a partial migrant to Indonesia and New Guinea.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Fry, C.F., Fry, K. and Harris, A. (1991). Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, and Rollers. Princeton University Press
  3. Gregory, P. (2017) Birds of New Guinea, Including Bismarck Archipelago and Boughainville. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  4. Woodall, P.F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/55762 on 6 November 2019).

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