Guam Kingfisher Todiramphus cinnamominus


Justification of Red List category
This recently-split kingfisher was endemic to the island of Guam, but following predation by invasive snakes it became Extinct in the Wild in 1986 when the last remaining wild birds were taken into captivity for captive breeding.

Population justification
Extinct in the wild: the last 29 known wild birds were taken into captivity in 1986.

Distribution and population

Todiramphus cinnamominus occurred on Guam (to U.S.A.),  but became extinct in the wild in 1986 as a result of predation from the introduced tree snake Boiga irregularis (del Hoyo et al. 2001). What were believed to be the last 29 individuals were caught and taken into captivity in 1986; this captive population now numbers 124 individuals spread around various facilities in the U.S.A (D. Kesler in litt. 2013).


The species was previously found in a fairly wide variety of habitats throughout the island of Guam, including the edges of mangroves, wooded coastal lowlands, coconut palms and mixed upland forest and also large gardens with plenty of timber (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001, Kesler in litt. 2013). The breeding season was between December and July, with the nest excavated into a rotten tree (Fry and Fry 1999).


Its decline and extinction in the wild is the result of predation by the introduced brown tree snake Boiga irregularis (Fritts and Rodda 1998). Predation by feral cats may have represented an additional threat.

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
In 2013 the captive population numbered 124 individuals spread around various facilities in the U.S.A (D. Kesler in litt. 2013). The captive population is considered to be close to or at capacity for the facilities currently holding birds, and there is a need for an appropriate reintroduction site to be identified (Laws and Kesler 2012, Kesler in litt. 2013), with a bayesian modelling approach being used to identify islands that may be suitable for translocation (Laws and Kesler 2012).

Conservation and research actions proposed
Continue the captive-breeding programme. Control B. irregularis and feral cats F. catus on Guam so that there is the potential for reintroductions to take place in the future. Identify one or more suitable reintroduction or translocation sites.


20 cm. A distinctive small kingfisher with a rich rufous top of the head, underparts and hindcollar, greenish-black mask extending as a thin band around the hindneck and shining blue-green mantle, wings and tail. Bill is black. The female has a white belly, sharply demarcated from the rufous on the breast. Similar species. T. pelewensis and T. reichenbachii have clean white underparts.


Text account compilers
North, A., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Taylor, J., Khwaja, N., Symes, A., Butchart, S.

Kesler, D., Buchholz, P., Shannon, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Todiramphus cinnamominus. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/guam-kingfisher-todiramphus-cinnamominus on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 29/09/2023.