Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Common Paradise-kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea)


French: Martin-chasseur à longs brins German: Spatelliest Spanish: Alción colilargo común

Tanysiptera galatea

G. R. Gray

, 1859,

Manokwari, New Guinea


Traditionally placed in a species-group with T. ellioti, T. riedelii and T. carolinae; commonly regarded as conspecific with the first two, but morphological differences support treatment as separate species. Fifteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. g. brunhildae Jany, 1955 – Doi I, off N Halmahera (N Moluccas).
  • T. g. emiliae Sharpe, 1871 – Rau I, off N Halmahera.
  • T. g. doris Wallace, 1862 – Morotai.
  • T. g. browningi Ripley, 1983 – Halmahera.
  • T. g. sabrina G. R. Gray, 1861 – Kayoa I, off SW Halmahera.
  • T. g. margarethae Heine, 1860 – Bacan.
  • T. g. obiensis Salvadori, 1877 – Obi Latu, Bisa and Obi.
  • T. g. acis Wallace, 1863 – Buru (S Moluccas).
  • T. g. boanensis Mees, 1964 – Boano I, off NW Seram.
  • T. g. nais G. R. Gray, 1861 – Manipa, Ambon, Seram, Manawoka and Gorong.
  • T. g. galatea G. R. Gray, 1859 – W Papuan Is E in New Guinea to Geelvink Bay and Triton Bay.
  • T. g. meyeri Salvadori, 1889 – lowland N New Guinea E of Mamberamo R drainage to Ramu R drainage.
  • T. g. vulcani Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1915 – Manam I, off NE New Guinea.
  • T. g. minor Salvadori & D’Albertis, 1875 – lowland S New Guinea, and W of N coast to Holnicote Bay.
  • T. g. rosseliana Tristram, 1889 – Rossel I, in Louisiade Archipelago.
  • Descriptive notes

    33–43 cm, including tail-streamers; male 58–65 g, female 55–69 g (galatea), 40–78 g (other races). Male nominate race blue crown, dark blue... read more


    1–4 mournful whistles, at same pitch, accelerating to a trill, lasting 1·5 seconds;... read more


    Monsoon forest and primary lowland rainforest, to 300 m, occasionally to 820 m. Also found in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Many earthworms (Annelida) taken; also snails (Gastropoda), beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), caterpillars (Lepidoptera),... read more


    Lays in wet season, Oct–Mar (Jul) in Papua New Guinea. Nest 2–6 m above the ground in arboreal termitarium of ... read more


    Generally very sedentary, adults maintaining a territory throughout year and moving little more... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. In some areas, can be very numerous, with densities of e.g. 5 birds/ha, and, locally, individuals can live for fairly long time. On other hand,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. (2019). Common Paradise-kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea). 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).