Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Near Threatened

Blue-headed Kingfisher (Actenoides monachus)


French: Martin-chasseur moine German: Einsiedlerliest Spanish: Alción monje
Other common names: Green-backed Kingfisher (when lumped with A. capucinus)

Halcyon (Paralcyon) monachus


, 1850,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with A. capucinus. The two are occasionally placed in genus Dacelalcyon. Population of NC Sulawesi, formerly separated as race intermedius, now considered indistinguishable from monachus. Monotypic.


N & C Sulawesi, including islands of Manadotua and Lembeh.

Descriptive notes

31–32 cm; 150 g. Large, heavy kingfisher with green back and wings, rufous collar, and rufous underparts apart from white throat. Male nominate race head blue, tail... read more


Long, melodious, ascending and descending whistles, repeated at intervals of six seconds; also... read more


Dense lowland forest and tall secondary forest, at up to 900 m. Replaced by A. princeps at... read more

Food and feeding

Large centipedes (Chilopoda) and beetles (Coleoptera). Perches quietly in understorey or in midstorey, 1–5 m above ground, often... read more


Little known. Probably lays in Feb–Mar; recently fledged young recorded in Apr. Nest with eggs found in Mar, in hole dug into... read more


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Sulawesi EBA. Generally uncommon, but locally common in N; present in Lore... read more

Recommended citation

Woodall, P.F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Blue-headed Kingfisher (Actenoides monachus). 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 9 December 2019).