Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Paradise-kingfisher (Tanysiptera nigriceps)


French: Martin-chasseur à tête noire German: Schwarzkappen-Paradiesliest Spanish: Alción colilargo cabecinegro
Other common names: Black-capped Paradise-kingfisher

Tanysiptera nigriceps

P. L. Sclater

, 1877,

Duke of York Island


Sometimes (with next species) placed in genus Uralcyon. Usually treated as conspecific with T. sylvia, but differs on account of black (not blue) crown (3); black (not blue) scapulars (3); much paler, yellower underparts in nigriceps, although only slightly so in leucura (ns[2]); and differently structured tail (in sylvia and salvadoriana, most feathers half-length of narrow streamers; in leucura and nigriceps, most feathers two-thirds the length of broader streamers) (visually 3). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. n. leucura Neumann, 1915 – Umboi I (Bismarck Archipelago).
  • T. n. nigriceps P. L. Sclater, 1877 – New Britain and Duke of York I.
  • Descriptive notes

    30–48 cm, including tail-streamers; 43–74 g (nigriceps). Medium-sized forest kingfisher, with red bill and extremely long white-and blue tail (all white in one... read more


    In New Britain (nigriceps), a rising series of usually 5–7 mournful chipring notes,... read more


    Found in lowland and hill forest, especially at edges and in secondary forest, provided there is a... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very poorly known, although presumably similar in most aspects to formerly conspecific T. sylvia. On New Britain, observed to... read more


    Poorly known. Laying dates May, Jun and possibly Dec (when excavating nest) in New Britain. A nest-hole in New Britain was 5 m above ground... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in parts of its range, e.g. Nakanai and Whiteman Mts in New Britain, and both races leucura and nigriceps are common... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-headed Paradise-kingfisher (Tanysiptera nigriceps). 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 on 17 November 2019).