Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Least Concern

Spangled Kookaburra (Dacelo tyro)


French: Martin-chasseur pailleté German: Aruliest Spanish: Cucaburra escamosa

Dacelo tyro

G. R. Gray

, 1858,

Aru Islands


Has been placed in Melidora, but seems much closer to other Dacelo. In the past was sometimes placed in monotypic genus Capricia, or in Sauromarptis along with D. gaudichaud; possibly derived from an ancestor of latter on Aru Is which subsequently reinvaded adjacent mainland. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. t. tyro G. R. Gray, 1858 – Aru Is.
  • D. t. archboldi (Rand, 1938) – SC New Guinea from Bian R and Habé I to Mai Kussa R.
  • Descriptive notes

    33 cm; male 128–145 g, female 148–165 g. Male of nominate race has head, hindneck and mantle yellow-buff with black margins to feathers, back and scapulars black... read more


    Pairs often duet. Series of loud, throaty “kurk” notes, similar to those of D.... read more


    Well-wooded dry savanna, thickets of Dillenea alata at swamp margins, and mo­saics of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), ants and winged ants (Formi­ci­dae), and stick-insects (Phasmida). Forages from perch 1... read more


    Females in breeding condition and about to lay collected in Mar; nests with young found in Mar. Nest excavated in hemispherical termitarium... read more


    Presumed to be sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Trans-Fly EBA. Reported to be common in suitable habitat on the mainland; occurs in Wasur National Park, Irian... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Spangled Kookaburra (Dacelo tyro). 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 17 November 2019).