Kofiau Paradise-kingfisher Tanysiptera ellioti


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been downlisted from Endangered because of new information on its tolerance of habitat modification that suggests its population is stable. It is listed as Vulnerable, because its population is nevertheless thought to be very small.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
Although forest habitats on Kofiau are experiencing limited clearance and degradation through slash-and-burn agriculture and selective logging, this species persists in traditional gardens, secondary forest and selectively logged forest (Diamond et al. 2009; K. D. Bishop in litt. 2013), indicating some tolerance of habitat modification. Furthermore, a visit to the island in December 2011 found no evidence of large-scale development, increased clearance or habitat conversion (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). On this basis the species is suspected to be stable.

Distribution and population

Tanysiptera ellioti is endemic to the 144-km2 island of Kofiau in the West Papuan islands of Indonesia, where it is abundant in primary and secondary forest (Diamond et al. 2009). The population is suspected to be stable.


Previous research suggested it can inhabit most habitats in the lowlands, including primary forest and tall secondary forest (Beehler et al. 1986, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). Further surveys suggest that it is most abundant in primary and secondary forest, although it can be found persisting in traditional gardens (Diamond et al. 2009). A visit to north-western Kofiau in 2012 found the species to be common in lightly wooded village gardens, secondary forest, selectively logged forest and tall primary forest (K. D. Bishop in litt. 2013). There is also circumstantial evidence that immature individuals may only occur in tall, closed-canopy forests (Diamond et al. 2009). Individuals perch at 1-12 m and are not thought to venture up into the canopy (Diamond et al. 2009).


Kofiau has been largely selectively logged (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, 2000), and has no protected area (Sujatnika et al. 1995). New subsistence gardens and cash-crop coconut groves continue to encroach on primary and secondary forest; agricultural clearings increasing by an estimated 30% between 2002 and 2007 (Diamond et al. 2009). Small-scale timber extraction is also continuing (Diamond et al. 2009). Despite these on-going threatening processes, a visit to the island in December 2011 noted an abundance of standing forest and no evidence of large-scale development, increased clearance or conversion of habitat (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). As an endemic of a low-lying island, it may be at risk from sea-level rise associated with projected climate change.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out a major survey of Kofiau to assess the current population size. Establish a monitoring programme to assess population trends. Establish a protected area on the island to ensure the on-going presence of primary forest. Clarify the species's ecological preferences and tolerance of habitat degradation. Clarify the species's taxonomic status.


Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Beehler, B. & Bishop, K.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Tanysiptera ellioti. Downloaded from on 05/12/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 05/12/2021.