Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

New Guinea Dwarf-kingfisher (Ceyx solitarius)


French: Martin-pêcheur de Nouvelle-Guinée German: Papuazwergfischer Spanish: Martín pigmeo papú

Ceyx solitaria


, 1836,

Lobo [Kaimana] Bay, south-west New Guinea


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 formerly grouped under Variable Dwarf-kingfisher to the W of its range in its smaller size (effect size for wing compared with the relatively small lepidus −4.48; score 2), much narrower but equally long bill (not measured, but at least 1), black bill (3), deeper blue dorsum (2), buffy-whitish (and relatively small) loral spot (darker in all other taxa except gentianus) (allow 1); it differs from all taxa to the E and N in similar characters, but is closest to (a) meeki (including in size), from which it differs in much richer orange vs whitish-orange underparts (2), narrower and perhaps longer bill (1), continuous royal-blue upperparts and head sides vs pale turquoise-green spotting on black (3), smaller size (effect size for wing −2.94, score 2); and (b) mulcatus, from which it differs in smaller size (effect size for wing −4.85, score 2), much narrower but equally long bill (not measured, but at least 1), whitish, small vs rufous-buffy, large loral spot, and paler rufous underparts (2), and less turquoise, more royal blue on dorsal area (1). Monotypic.

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

W Papuan Is (Batanta, Misool, Salawati, Waigeo), islands in Geelvink Bay (Biak, Yapen), Aru Is, and mainland New Guinea E (including Kairiru I and Karkar I) to D’Entrecasteaux Is, Fergusson and Normanby Is.

Descriptive notes

12 cm; male 11–21 g, female 13–24 g. Small kingfisher with three toes. Adult has deep blue upperparts, becoming paler blue on back and rump, and crown and wing-coverts... read more


A single (but frequently repeated), high-pitched “tseet” or “ss” note, given both perched and, more... read more


Interior of lowland and hill forests, often far from water, to 1200 m. Usually observed in... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, such as dragonflies (Odonata), mayflies (Ephemeroptera), midges (Culicomorpha), grasshoppers and locusts (Orthoptera), crickets (... read more


Lays in Nov–Jan in New Guinea. Nest in an earth or streamside bank, in earth around roots of a fallen tree, or in termite nest; short... read more


Sedentary; in SE New Guinea, one was retrapped > 6 years later at the same site, but recapture rate... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Species is widely distributed, and is common in many areas. Density on mainland New Guinea suggested to be one bird/10 ha, but study in Crater... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). New Guinea Dwarf-kingfisher (Ceyx solitarius). 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 19 February 2019).