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Melanesian Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Adult male, subspecies T. t. alberti
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Gizo, New Georgia Group, Solomon Islands, 18 September 2019
Todiramphus tristrami


20-25cm (7 ¾-9¾ in)

  • Green or bluish crown
  • Rufous spot in front of eye
  • Darkish eyestripe extending as small line to neck
  • Broad white neck collar
  • Blue-green upperparts, wings and tail
  • White to buff rufous underparts
  • Black bill with horn-coloured base of lower mandible

Female less buffy below. Juvenile has buff fringes on wing coverts.


The subspecies differ in colour and extent of dark crown.

Similar Species

Sacred Kingfisher is smaller, slimmer and has a shorter, less angular bill.


Islands off New Guinea, New Ireland, New Britain and Solomon Islands.


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


Seven subspecies recognized[1]:

  • T. t. matthiae: Bismarck Archipelago (Mussau and Emirau)
  • T. t. stresemanni: Witu, Umboi and adjacent islands in Dampier Straits
  • T. t. nusae: New Ireland (except south-west), New Hanover and Feni Islands
  • T. t. novaehiberniae: New Ireland (Bismarck Archipelago)
  • T. t. bennetti: Nissan Island (eastern Papua New Guinea)
  • T. t. tristrami: New Britain (Bismarck Archipelago)
  • T. t. alberti: Buka, Bougainville and Solomon Islands (east to Guadalcanal)


Prefers secondary forest and open areas away from the coast.



Includes insects, spiders, frogs, snakes and occasionally mice.


Nests in tree cavities including arboreal termitaria. Clutch is two to five eggs.


Includes a hosrt series of loud yelping calls, loud explosive chatter, and harsh rasping calls.


Apparently 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. 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).
  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. 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.
  6. Fry, C.F., Fry, K. and Harris, A. (1991). Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, and Rollers. Princeton University Press
  7. Dutson, G. (2011) Birds of Melanesia, Christopher Helm, London.
  8. Gregory, P. (2017) Birds of New Guinea, Including Bismarck Archipelago and Boughainville. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Recommended Citation

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