Blue-capped Kingfisher Actenoides hombroni


Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small, fragmented population which is declining.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Forest clearance within this species's range has been rapid and is continuing, even within a number of protected areas. The species's preference for montane forest, which is being lost at a slower rate than lowland forest (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012), suggests that the rate of population decline is moderately rapid.

Distribution and population

The species is endemic to the island of Mindanao in the Philippines (Collar et al. 1999). Formerly widespread, there have been records from just seven localities since 1980. However, three of these represent minor range extensions, suggesting further populations may yet be discovered. Contradictory assessments from the early 20th century considered it quite common and very rare. It is difficult to observe but knowledge of its call recently revealed it to be fairly common at Lake Sebu and this may be the case elsewhere. It was recorded in montane forests on Mt Hilong-hilong in Agusan del Norte during surveys in 2005-2007 (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007).


It is an apparently sedentary inhabitant of primary forest and occasionally secondary and disturbed habitats across a wide altitudinal range (100-2,400 m), although generally above 1,000 m. One anomalous report, of a bird collected in low thick jungle covered daily by the sea, appears to relate to mangroves. It is unobtrusive and tends to call prior to dawn.


Extensive deforestation has been a significant threat. In 1988, an estimated 29% of Mindanao remained forested. Even this is considered an overestimate and most remaining accessible tracts are leased to logging concessions and mining applications. Virtually all forest below 1,200 m at the ostensibly protected key site of Mt Kitanglad Natural Park has been felled, and agricultural encroachment along forest edges and illegal logging continue to threaten forests even within protected areas (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007). Forest burning associated with insurgency is a problem on the Zamboanga peninsula. However, the species appears to show a preference for montane habitats, therefore mining for chromite and nickel in the mountains of eastern Mindanao is perhaps the greatest threat (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007).

Conservation actions

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
It occurs in areas afforded varying degrees of protection, including Pasonanca Natural Park (Zamboanga) and Mt Apo Natural Park (recorded in 2011 after an apparent absence of records since the 1960s) (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012), Mt Kitanglad Natural Park, Mt Hilong-hilong watershed reserve, Mt Malindang National Park, and Mt Matutum Forest Reserve, which is now a protected landscape under the protected areas system of the Philippines (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007). The proposed Mt Tagub-kampalili protected area may offer some protection of habitat in the future.

and Research Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys, including mist-netting and use of its vocalisations, to establish its true range on Mindanao, and to assess its current distribution and status. Propose additional key sites (such as Mts Hilong-hilong, Diwata, Sugarloaf, Piapayungan, and Mayo) for urgent designation as formal protected areas. Ensure that current protected areas receive the level of protection needed to prevent further forest clearance. Advocate for better environmental impact assessments that truly yield acceptable estimates of threatened local wildlife prior to further mining developments, and ensure that the results and recommendations are heeded and any damages mitigated appropriately.


27 cm. Large, secretive, forest kingfisher. Male has bright blue cap and moustachial area, rufous-orange cheeks and underparts. Off-white throat, rest of underparts rufous-orange. Blue-green upperparts with small buff spots on scapulars and wing-coverts. Brighter blue rump and tail. Bright red bill. Female has drabber cap and moustachial area. Green upperparts with larger buff spots than male. Voice Long series of melancholic whistles and loud cackles in alarm. Hints Best located by call, mostly just prior to sunrise.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Lowen, J., Peet, N., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J

Ibanez, J. & Hutchinson, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Actenoides hombroni. Downloaded from on 16/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/12/2019.