Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Hook-billed Kingfisher (Melidora macrorrhina)


French: Martin-chasseur d’Euphrosine German: Hakenliest Spanish: Martín cazador ganchudo

Dacelo macrorrhinus


, 1827,

Manokwari, New Guinea


Although placed in monospecific genus, shows some similarities to Tanysiptera and also to Dacelo and Clytoceyx. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. waigiuensis E. J. O. Hartert, 1930 – Waigeo (W Papuan Is).
  • M. m. macrorrhina (Lesson, 1827) – Batanta, Salawati and Misool (W Papuan Is), and Vogelkop E across S & E New Guinea.
  • M. m. jobiensis Salvadori, 1880 – Yapen I (in Geelvink Bay) and E through N New Guinea to Astrolabe Bay.
  • Descriptive notes

    27 cm; male 90–110 g, female 85–110 g. Large, dumpy-looking kingfisher, black eyestripe and black band from chin joining at rear to form broad collar, bordered... read more


    Calls mainly at dusk and dawn, but throughout night when moonlit, also by day when breeding, single... read more


    Lowland primary and secondary rainforest, gallery forest, scrub-forest, also partly cleared areas,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Large insects, including stick-insects (Phasmida), also frogs. Feeding behaviour little known; bill often caked in mud, suggesting that it... read more


    Lays in middle to late dry season, in Jul–Oct. Nest dug into active termite nest 3–6 m above ground on side of a tree, in shady... read more


    Sedentary; a ringed bird recovered 5·5 years later at same site.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widely distributed and quite common. Occurs in Varirata National Park; fairly common in Kau Wildlife Area. Nocturnal habits means that it is... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Hook-billed Kingfisher (Melidora macrorrhina). 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).