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Sacred Kingfisher

From Opus

Photo by Neil FiferPhoto taken: Sydney, Australia
Photo by Neil Fifer
Photo taken: Sydney, Australia
Todiramphus sanctus

Halcyon sancta, Todirhamphus sancta


[edit] Identification

19cm - 23cm

  • Turquoise back, rump and tail
  • Buff-white underparts
  • Broad cream collar
  • Broad black eye stripe extending from bill to nape of neck

Sexes are similar, although the female is generally lighter with duller upper parts.

[edit] Distribution

Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, Loyalty, Kermadec & Solomon Islands, Futuna & Fiji Islands.

Winters north to New Guinea, Indonesia & Melanesia.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies[1]

  • T. s. sanctus:
  • T. s. vagans (norfolkiensis, adamsi) :
  • T. s. canacorum :
  • T. s. macmillani:
  • Loyalty Islands
  • T. s. vitiensis:
  • Fiji (Ngau, Ovalau, Koro, Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni)
  • T. s. eximius:
  • Fiji (Kandavu, Ono and Vanua Kula)
  • T. s. regina:
  • Futuna (Wallis and Futuna, central Polynesia)

The last three subspecies were formerly assigned to Collared Kingfisher.

[edit] Habitat

Woodlands, mangroves and paperbark forests, tall open eucalypt forest near water.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet mostly consists of crustaceans, reptiles, insects and their larvae and, occasionally, fish. Hunts from, and returns to, the same low, exposed perch.

[edit] Breeding

The nest hole is excavated by both sexes, normally in a termite mound, but could be a hollow branch or into the river bank. The unlined nest chamber can be as much as 20m above ground. Three to six eggs are laid and cared for by oth adults. The chicks hatch after about 18 days and leave the nest after a further 26 days.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  2. Birds in Backyards

[edit] External Links


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