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Hook-billed Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Photo by mehdhalaouate
Yapen, Papua, March 2003
Melidora macrorrhina


27cm (11 in), 90-110g (3.1-3.9 oz), a large Kingfisher:

  • Blue-black crown
  • Black eyestripe and black band from chin joining at rear to form a broad collar, bordered white below
  • Brown upperparts with buff tipps
  • Whitish underparts
  • Large bill with black upper mandible and hooked tip

Females with buffy underparts and yellowish-green fringes on black crown feathers.
Juveniles have a darker cap, rufous-buff to yellowish-buff underparts and dusky margins to throat and breast feathers.


Found on New Guinea and adjacent islands.
Widely distributed and quite common.


  • M. m. waigiuensis on Waigeo Island
  • M. m. macrorrhina on most of mainland New Guinea, Misool, Salawati and Batanta islands
  • M. m. jobiensis on Yapen Island and northern New Guinea


Lowland rainforest, both primary and secondary, and also agricultural plantations.
Generally below 700m but locally also higher up.


Largely nocturnal or crepuscular. Active during the day when feeding chicks.
Diet includes insects, spiders and crickets taken from the jungle floor. Probably digs in soil for prey.
Breeding season from July to October. It builds a nest chamber dug into active nests of arboreal termites. 2-3 eggs are laid, male incubates eggs and broods chicks by day.
A sedentary species.


  1. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 2001. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334306
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist

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