Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Near Threatened

Blue-black Kingfisher (Todiramphus nigrocyaneus)


French: Martin-chasseur bleu-noir German: Dunkelliest Spanish: Alción oscuro
Other common names: Black-sided Kingfisher

Halcyon nigrocyanea


, 1862,

Manokwari, New Guinea


Race stictolaemus notably distinctive, with all-black bill (no horn-coloured underside of lower mandible) (1); black-stippled white throat (2); royal-blue belly with little or no white breastband (2); and broad zone of intergradation with nominate in Trans-Fly region (1). Race quadricolor also distinctive, by virtue of one major character (rufous vs royal-blue belly; score 3), but with intergradation with nominate on shores of Geelvink Bay (score 2). In both cases more research needed, particularly as the taxa appear to be rare; emphasis on vocal differences may be helpful. Three subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. n. nigrocyaneus (Wallace, 1862) – Blue-black Kingfisher – W Papuan Is (Batanta, Salawati) E through New Guinea to Geelvink Bay in N and to Princess Marianne Strait in S (by Kolepom I).
  • T. n. quadricolor (Oustalet, 1880) – Four-coloured Kingfisher – Yapen I (in Geelvink Bay) E to Madang and Astrolabe Bay.
  • T. n. stictolaemus (Salvadori, 1876) – Spot-throated Kingfisher – Koerik District and Fly R E to Mt Cameron (W Owen Stanley Range).
  • Descriptive notes

    23 cm; male 51–54 g, female 55–57 g. Medium-sized kingfisher with dark blue crown, paler bluer supercilium, black mantle, pale blue back becoming darker on rump... read more


    Two ascending notes and short descending trill, lasting 3 seconds; female a repeated, piercing... read more


    Lowland to hill forest near streams, swamps and ponds, at up to 600 m; also flooded Melaleuca... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little known; crabs, fish and lizards recorded as prey. Perches high in the canopy or low over water; evidently takes prey both from land... read more


    No information.


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Reportedly common in W of its range (Papua), becoming scarcer farther E (Papua New Guinea). Inexplicably rare... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Blue-black Kingfisher (Todiramphus nigrocyaneus). 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 22 November 2019).