Yellowbilled kingfisher

Syma torotoro

SUBFAMILY

Halcyonine

TAXONOMY

Syma torotoro Lesson, 1827, Manokwari, New Guinea. Three subspecies.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Skulls valued as ornaments for hair by people of Middle Sepik River in New Guinea. ♦

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Lesser/lowland yellow-billed kingfisher, saw-billed kingfisher; French: Martin-chasseur torotoro; German: Gelbschnabelliest; Spanish: Alción Torotoro.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8 in (20 cm), 1.1-1.8 oz (30-52 g). Small rufous kingfisher, with green back and tail and blue rump. Black patch on nape, sometimes on crown. Only kingfishers with yellow bill and feet, and with serrated tip to upper mandible of bill.

DISTRIBUTION

New Guinea, northern Australia, and adjacent islands. HABITAT

Primary and secondary forest, and wooded areas of cultivation. BEHAVIOR

Usually perches below 26 ft (8 m), but at any height including forest canopy. Calls with either short abrupt or longer fading loud trill. Sways from side to side while perched. May raise crown in threat, to display black eye-like spots on nape.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Captures most prey from ground, some off foliage or in air, rarely from water's edge or under leaf. Diet mainly insects, also earthworms and few small lizards, geckos, and snakes. May follow columns of ants for any insects they disturb.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Both members of monogamous, territorial pair excavate nest chamber in arboreal termite nest or soft dead wood. Lay one to four eggs, incubated and later brooding by both sexes.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Widespread, common and at densities of pair per 2.5-5 acres (1-2 ha) in good forest habitat.

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