Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Chattering Kingfisher (Todiramphus tutus)


French: Martin-chasseur respecté German: Boraboraliest Spanish: Alción respetado
Other common names: Pacific Kingfisher

Alcedo tuta

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,



Type locality erroneous, since species has never occurred on Tahiti#R. Traditionally thought to form a species-group with several other Australasian and Polynesian species (see T. sanctus). Taxonomy of this group uncertain, and species boundaries not clear. Usually includes T. ruficollaris. Extinct nominate race of T. gambieri sometimes placed within present species on basis of morphological criteria, but current limited information suggests that it is probably better combined with the other Tuamotu taxon, gertrudae, in a separate species. Races pealei, manuae, marinus and sacer of T. chloris may belong in present species. Detailed genetic research required in order to clarify these taxonomic problems, but this is hampered by scattered distribution of the various populations over thousands of kilometres of Pacific Ocean. Specific name often given as tuta, but is Latinized Greek adjective and must agree with masculine genus name. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. t. tutus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Maupiti, Bora Bora, Tahaa, Raiatea and Huahine (Society Is).
  • T. t. atiu (Holyoak, 1974) – Atiu (SE Cook Is).
  • T. t. mauke (Holyoak, 1974) – Mauke (SE Cook Is).
  • Descriptive notes

    22 cm. Both sexes of nominate race have white forehead and supercilium, green-and-black mask, green-blue crown, back, wings and tail, white collar and underparts; upper... read more


    Rapid, repeated “kee-kee-kee-kee” which sometimes runs into rattling chatter, also... read more


    Primary forest, especially highland stream valleys, secondary forest, old plantations, cultivated... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including grasshoppers (Orthoptera), termites (Isoptera), stick-insects (Phasmida), cockroaches (Blattodea), moths and their... read more


    Lays in Dec–Jan in Society Is; male in breeding condition on Atiu, Cook Is, in mid Sept. Very few data for this species, compared to... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: present in Southern Cook Islands EBA and Society Islands EBA. Common or abundant on some islands, mainly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Chattering Kingfisher (Todiramphus tutus). 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).