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Mariana Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Adult, nominate subspecies
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
WW II Memorials, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, 8 September 2018
Todiramphus albicilla


Length 24 cm (9½ in)

  • White head with dark green eyestripe extending as small line to neck
  • White neck
  • Blue upperparts, wings and tail
  • White underparts
  • Black bill with horn-coloured base of lower mandible.


T. c. owstoni has some green on crown and paler green eyestripe. T. c. orii has darker crown with large buffy supraloral spot extending back forming short supercilium. Nape streaked with white. Back washed with olive-green, not clear blue.


Mariana Islands.


This species belongs to the Collared Kingfisher complex and was formerly considered conspecific with Collared Kingfisher, Torresian Kingfisher, Colonist Kingfisher, Melanesian Kingfisher and Pacific Kingfisher. Andersen et al (2015)[4] found this species to be more closely related to Beach Kingfisher than to Collared Kingfisher.


Three subspecies recognized[1]:

  • T. a. owstoni: Northern Mariana Islands (Asuncion, Pagan, Almagan and Agrihan)
  • T. a. albicilla: Southern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian and Aguiguan)
  • T. a. orii: Rota Island (southern Mariana Islands)


Typical Todiramphus with a wide range of woodland and open habitats. Often perches on power lines.


Often harasses smaller birds such as white-eyes, and may in turn be mobbed by them.


It nests in tree cavities.


It feeds mostly on insects, crabs, small fish and lizards.


Loud barking calls and a slower series of doubled "caw-hee" calls.


Presumed resident.


  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. Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2019. IOC World Bird List (v9.2). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.9.2. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Christidis et al. 2018. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, version 4.1 (Downloadable checklist). Accessed from https://www.howardandmoore.org.
  4. Andersen, M.J.; Shult, H.T.; Cibois, A.; Thibault, J.C.; Filardi, C.E.; Moyle, R.G. (2015). Rapid diversification and secondary sympatry in Australo-Pacific kingfishers (Aves: Alcedinidae: Todiramphus). Royal Society Open Science. 2 (140375).
  5. Fry, C.F., Fry, K. and Harris, A. (1991). Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, and Rollers. Princeton University Press
  6. Pratt, H.D., Bruner, P., and Berrett, D.G. (1987) A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press
  7. Woodall, P.F. (2019). Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris). 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/55767 on 25 October 2019).Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved October 2015)

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