Common paradise kingfisher

Tanysiptera galatea

SUBFAMILY

Halcyoninae

TAXONOMY

Tanysiptera galatea G. R. Gray, 1859, Manokwari, New Guinea. At least 15 subspecies, some elevated to species.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Galatea racquet-tail; French: Martin-chasseur a longs brins; German: Spatelliest; Spanish: Alción Colilargo Común.

Manokwari Nieuw Guinea

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

13-17 in (33-43 cm), 1.9-2.4 oz (55-69 g). Spectacular medium-sized kingfisher, dark blue above, white below with shining blue crown, red bill and long blue central tail feathers with white racquets at the tip.

DISTRIBUTION

New Guinea, west to main islands of Halmahera and Buru in Indonesia and several smaller islands in between.

HABITAT

Lowland rainforest, even small patches, up to 980 ft (300 m) above sea level, but also more open areas of monsoon and riparian forest, even extending into secondary forest.

BEHAVIOR

Calls with one to four long whistles, ending with a loud trill. Very sedentary and spends much time perched low down, deep within favorite small area of forest.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Flies down to forest floor to catch prey, less often to snatch insects off foliage. Eats wide range of small animals, mainly earthworms, but also snails, centipedes, beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and lizards.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Both sexes of a monogamous pair excavate nest chamber in active nest of arboreal termite Microtermes biroi, an essential component of their habitat. Lays up to five eggs and both sexes care for eggs and chicks. Good breeding success.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Common and not threatened. Some threat from forest clearance, especially to small populations of subspecies on isolated islands.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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