Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Guadalcanal Dwarf-kingfisher (Ceyx nigromaxilla)


French: Martin-pêcheur de Guadalcanal German: Guadalcanal-Zwergfischer Spanish: Martín pigmeo de Guadalcanal

Ceyx lepida nigromaxilla

Rothschild and E. J. O. Hartert

, 1905,



Until recently considered a race of C. lepidus (which see), but molecular analysis suggests species status#R and this is supported by morphological evidence: present species differs from all other taxa in the Variable Dwarf-kingfisher complex (see C. gentianus and C. sacerdotis) in its usual lack of brighter, paler dorsum, so mostly continuously deep blue above (otherwise found only in C. margarethae dark morph, which is richer blue and not counted here), but the dorsum of C. collectoris is also somewhat less bright (hence score 1); two-toned bill (shared only with C. sacerdotis, which see) (3); much richer chestnut-orange underparts (1); size smaller than two adjacent taxa (collectoris and gentianus) (−2.27 vs collectoris, −3.21 vs gentianus; score 2). Recent molecular evidence#R suggests that form malaitae is genetically as distinct as other taxa in the exploded Variable Dwarf-kingfisher complex, even placing it phylogenetically closest to C. meeki pallidus; given its apparently weak morphological distinctiveness from nigromaxilla—a yellow vs orange-red lower mandible indicated as the only difference#R; a white loral spot (orange according to some#R) and paler upperparts and underparts also mentioned#R—plus its proximity to the range of nigromaxilla and the facts that only a single specimen was sampled in the molecular study and that the form was described from a single (different) specimen#R, it is, however, retained here as a subspecies. Two subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. n. nigromaxilla Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – Guadalcanal (E Solomons).
  • C. n. malaitae Mayr, 1936 – Malaita (E Solomons).
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 17–18·7 g. Small, forest-based kingfisher with three toes, dark purple-blue above and deep rufous-orange below, with a mainly black bill (orange on the basal part of... read more


    A high-pitched whistle, usually given in flight, “tzzeep”, like other Melanesian members of the... read more


    Old-growth forest and dense secondary vegetation in lowlands and foothills; usually found in the... read more

    Food and feeding

    No published information; one male had stomach filled with semi-translucent brownish invertebrate exoskeletons.


    Nothing known.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: endemic to Solomon group EBA. Overall range is rather small (9800 km²) and population size is unknown. The population trend... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Guadalcanal Dwarf-kingfisher (Ceyx nigromaxilla). 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 6 December 2019).