Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

New Britain Dwarf-kingfisher (Ceyx sacerdotis)


French: Martin-pêcheur de Nouvelle-Bretagne German: Neubritannien-Zwergfischer Spanish: Martín pigmeo de Nueva Bretaña

Ceyx sacerdotis

E. P. Ramsay

, 1882,

Kabahadai, New Britain


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 Variable Dwarf-kingfisher taxa to the E (discounting New Ireland) in characters outlined below for meeki, collectoris and gentianus, and from nigromaxilla (with which it shares a two-toned bill) in the latter’s narrower bill (effect size −3.596, score 2), smaller, darker loral spot (2), little or no shining mid-blue on dorsum (2) and richer, darker underparts (1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

New Britain and nearby islands of Umboi, Lolobau and Watom.

Descriptive notes

14 cm; 17–20·5 g. Small, forest-based kingfisher with three toes. Adult has purple-blue upperparts with paler blue spotting on crown and wing-coverts, and marginally brighter... read more


Characteristic, high-pitched whistle, usually given in flight, rendered “tzzeep”. Pairs duet,... read more


Old-growth forest and dense secondary vegetation in lowlands and foothills, to 1300 m (W New... read more

Food and feeding

Nothing known.


No information, beyond that the species apparently lays in Jul–Sept.



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: endemic to New Britain and New Ireland EBA. Fairly common and widespread in lowlands of New Britain, albeit easily... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). New Britain Dwarf-kingfisher (Ceyx sacerdotis). 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 18 November 2019).