Micronesia Kingfisher

Micronesian Kingfisher

Todiramphus cinnamominus cinnamominus

See them at the Zoo

Quick Facts

Body Length: 6 inches
Wing Span: 8 inches
Distribution: Micronesian kingfishers are extinct in the wild (though reintroduction programs have begun to take place); currently, these birds only live only in zoos
Habitat: they formerly lived in old-growth and second-growth forests (those that have been cut, then regrown) along rivers; on the coast of Guam, they could be found in stands of palm trees; they also used to perch on telephone lines next to roads; Micronesian kingfishers were once fairly common birds
Wild Diet: insects, small reptiles, and fish
Zoo Diet: mice, mealworms, and crickets

Who said that?

They have a very loud call that sounds like a rattle and can be heard from a long distance. They also have a softer, scratchy call that mated pairs use to communicate with each other over short distances.


Description

Micronesian kingfishers are sexually dimorphic (have two distinct gender forms); females have a white breast and are slightly larger than males; males have rusty cinnamon breast. Males and females both have a chestnut head, greenish-blue body, and blue tail. Their wingspan is 8 inches. They have a large head, short neck and tail, and a straight, strong bill, flattened on top and bottom.

Status in the Wild

The Micronesian kingfisher has a big name for a small bird. It’s named after a tiny group of islands called Micronesia, which are in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines and north of the equator. Once, the island of Guam was the only home to wild Micronesian kingfishers. But now these birds are found only in zoos and are extinct in the wild. It took forty years to find out how that happened. Slowly, zoos are helping these endangered birds back from the brink of extinction.

Conservation Programs
  • The Micronesian Kingfisher is classified as "Extinct In The Wild" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 
  • CZS Conservation
  • A cooperative rescue effort between the Guam Department of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources and several AZA institutions led to the capture of 29 Guam kingfishers between 1984 and 1986. Subsequent breeding efforts initially had mixed but recently have had good success. There are currently more than 150 birds in captivity.
  • The long-term plan is to try to reintroduce the Guam subspecies into the wild after the eradication of the brown tree snakes. A mid-term plan is to introduce the species to islands surrounding Guam.

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