Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Near Threatened

Palau Kingfisher (Todiramphus pelewensis)


French: Martin-chasseur des Palau German: Palau-Zimtkopfliest Spanish: Alción de Palau

Halcyon pelewensis


, 1891,

Palau Islands


Usually considered to be closely related to T. chloris and T. enigma. Hitherto treated as conspecific with T. cinnamominus and T. reichenbachii, but differs from cinnamominus in its much smaller size (all values for cinnamominus greater than those for reichenbachii, and latter scores 3 against cinnamominus below, hence: 3), all-white vs all-rufous underparts of males (3), all-white vs rufous breast/white belly of females (3), female blacker on back and wings (2), and cinnamon ruff below black collar on both sexes narrower and much whiter (2); differs from reichenbachii in its size (wing and tail effect sizes both more than –5, score 3), with female more extensively black above than her counterpart (1), immature white vs whitish-shot cinnamon below (2), and reportedly different voice#R (at least 1). Recent genetic study found that T. reichenbachii and T. cinnamominus are sequentially sister to T. recurvirostris, whereas T. pelewensis alone occupies a wholly separate clade#R. Monotypic.

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

Palau Is (Babeldaop S to Peleliu).

Descriptive notes

20 cm. Distinctive small kingfisher. Adult (both sexes) has orange-rufous cap, black eyestripe extending as thin line across nape, broad white collar on neck (sometimes... read more


Quieter than other members of the T. cinnamominus complex, giving a chattering “che-che-... read more


Occurs across a fairly wide variety of habitats throughout Palau, including edges of mangroves,... read more

Food and feeding

Diet and foraging behaviour resumably similar to those of T. cinnamominus and T. reichenbachii.


Pairs are territorial year-round, but nesting begins in late summer, with the single chick fledging by Sept; nest, primarily in cavity high... read more


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Palau EBA. No estimate of population size, but considered stable within... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Palau Kingfisher (Todiramphus pelewensis). 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 24 October 2019).