Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Near Threatened

Scaly-breasted Kingfisher (Actenoides princeps)


French: Martin-chasseur princier German: Prinzenliest Spanish: Alción príncipe
Other common names: Scaly Kingfisher

Monachalcyon princeps


, 1851,



Hitherto considered conspecific with A. regalis. The two are occasionally placed in separate genus Monachalcyon. A kingfisher observed at c. 2100 m on Gunung Tumpu, E Sulawesi, had a deep blue cap, a mostly bright red bill becoming more yellowish at the tip, a white throat, unmarked intense orange underparts, reaching onto the nape in a collar (somewhat like A. monachus), a conspicuous round buff loral patch, an earth-brown back scaled off-white, and probably an all-brown tail; unfortunately, it proved impossible to document the record, but the bird was presumed to represent a new taxon, tentatively ascribed to the present species complex, although if this suite of characters can be confirmed in future as belonging to a population of kingfishers in the E mountains of Sulawesi, then it would seem highly likely to represent a new species#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. p. princeps (Reichenbach, 1851) – NE Sulawesi.
  • A. p. erythrorhamphus (Stresemann, 1931) – NW, C & SW Sulawesi.
  • Descriptive notes

    24–25 cm, one female 105 g. Male of nominate race has blue head, buff- to rufous-tinged collar, and brown back with buff scallops; pale underparts with fine barring;... read more


    Song is a single mournful whistle that rises gradually and then falls, and may be given repeatedly... read more


    Primary and tall secondary hill and montane forest, mainly at 900–2000 m, occasionally as low... read more

    Food and feeding

    Few data available. Insects, beetles (Coleoptera), also cicada (Cicadidae) nymphs and small lizards known to be taken.


    Little known. Reported to excavate nest-tunnel in earth bank; clutch of four eggs collected.


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Sulawesi EBA. Reportedly uncommon, but this may reflect its shy,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Scaly-breasted Kingfisher (Actenoides princeps). 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 20 April 2019).