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Information for Sacred kingfisher - Todiramphus sanctus

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Coraciiformes > Alcedinidae > Todiramphus > Todiramphus sanctus

Sacred kingfisher
Todiramphus sanctus

The Polynesians believed this medium sized kingfisher had power over the waves, hence the common name of Sacred kingfisher.


Forest kingfisher - Todiramphus macleayii - Photo by Lydia Hinton


In Australia, they mainly inhabit eucalypt and melaleuca forests, mangroves, and along river valleys.

Sacred kingfishers will migrate within Australia depending on seasons, moving north in the winter and heading south in the Spring to breed.

Although they are a "kingfisher" they will rarely take fish, instead hunting insects and small animals like frogs and lizards on the ground. They will then take them back to a perch to eat them.

The colouring is turquoise wings, white/buff belly and collar, a dark eye stripe. The bill is mostly black with a white section underneath. The females have the same markings as the males, however the colours are slightly duller.

They are similar in appearance to the Forest kingfisher, however the Sacred kingfisher is slightly larger, has more buff colour to the underparts and has no wing patch.