Sacred Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher (male)
(Todiramphus sanctus)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Halcyonidae
Genus: Todiramphus
Species: T. sanctus
Binomial name
Todiramphus sanctus
(Vigors & Horsfield, 1827)

Halcyon sancta

The Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) is primarily a woodland kingfisher that occurs in mangroves, woodlands, forests, and river valleys of Australia, Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., New Guinea, N. Melanesia, Indonesia (including throughout Wallacea, Bali, Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan), New Caledonia, Loyalty Is., Kermadec Is., New Zealand (where the species is also known by its Māori name Kōtare), Eastern Solomon Islands. This species breeds throughout much of Australia (except the dry interior), New Zealand, New Caledonia and locally, New Guinea. Populations in the southern two-thirds of Australia migrate northwards at the end of breeding season to New Guinea, east to the E Solomon Is and west to Indonesia becoming uncommon to very sparse as west as Sumatra. Birds move south again to Australia in August to September.

It has also occurred as a vagrant in Christmas Island (in the Indian Ocean), Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Nauru.

In Australia, it occurs in eucalypt forests, melaleuca forests, woodland and paperbark forests. In New Zealand, T. sanctus vagans shows altitudinal migration, with post-breeding movement from higher altitudes to the coast and also from forest to coast and open lands.

It is 19–23 cm (7.5–9.1 in) long, and feeds on insects, small crustaceans, fish, small rodents and reptiles but reports of it eating small finches are rare. Sacred Kingfishers lay about five eggs.


  1. BirdLife International (2009). Todiramphus sanctus. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 04 March 2010.
  2. Heather, Barrie; Robertson, Hugh (2005). The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand (Revised ed.). Auckland: Viking. ISBN 0143020404.
  3. Reville, Barry J. (1993). A Visitor's Guide to the Birds of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean (2nd ed.). Christmas Island Natural History Association. ISBN 0959121048.

Coates, Brian, J and Bishop, K. David. 1997. A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea. Dove Publications. Brisbane, Qld., Australia.

MacKinnon, John and Phillips, Karen. 1993. The Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. O.U.P. Oxford, UK

External links

Retrieved from : http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sacred_Kingfisher&oldid=459453239