Family Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Critically Endangered

Tuamotu Kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri)


French: Martin-chasseur des Gambier German: Tuamotuliest Spanish: Alción de la Niau
Other common names: Mangareva Kingfisher (†gambieri), Niau Kingfisher (gertrudae)

Halcyon Gambieri


, 1895,

Mangareva, in Gambier Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago


Traditionally thought to form a species-group with several other Australasian and Polynesian species (see T. sanctus). Taxonomy unclear, and much debated: nominate †gambieri sometimes considered a race of a broader T. tutus (also including T. ruficollaris), largely on the basis that it is somewhat intermediate in plumage between these two, although geographically remote from them; in such an arrangement gertrudae is then usually treated as a separate species due to plumage differences and wide geographical separation from nominate, although it is actually geographically closer than nominate to tutus; indeed, gambieri and gertrudae may constitute two separate species, or may even both be races of T. tutus, but on limited information available treatment followed herein seems the best option, at any rate for the present. Validity of Mangareva as type locality has been questioned, and it has been suggested that the single specimen might instead have come from Micronesia. Much research still required, and particularly DNA analyses of the many taxa involved, to enable a detailed taxonomic review to be made. One extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. g. gertrudae Murphy, 1924 – Niau (W Tuamotu Is).
  • T. g. gambieri (Oustalet, 1895) – apparently Mangareva (SE Tuamotu Is).
  • Descriptive notes

    20 cm. Race gertrudae has buffy head and neck, blue on crown of variable extent, blue line leading back from eye; blue or green-blue upperparts with darker purple... read more


    Not described.


    Woodland, coconut plantations and village gardens; occasionally in forest.

    Food and feeding

    Insects and larvae, e.g. beetles; also small lizards. Reported also to catch small fish in reef ponds at low tide.


    Lays in Sept, possibly also in May–Jun. Recorded feeding chicks in Oct. Excavates cavity in dead coconut tree or in rotting coconut... read more


    Presumed to be sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Restricted-range species: present in Tuamotu Archipelago EBA. Nominate race probably became extinct on Mangareva I before 1922. Surviving race ... read more

    Recommended citation

    Woodall, P.F., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Tuamotu Kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri). 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 28 February 2020).