Plain-backed Kingfisher Actenoides regalis


Justification of Red List Category
This newly-split kingfisher is very poorly known but is assumed to have a small population which is undergoing continuing declines as forest loss and fragmentation spreads into higher elevations. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable, but further information on its status is urgently required.

Population justification
Very little is known about this species, which appears to be known only from two specimens, but its population is thought likely to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. A preliminary estimate places the population in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, but the true figure may prove to be lower.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 2001).

Distribution and population

Actenoides regalis occurs in south-eastern Sulawesi, Indonesia, where it is known from Tanke Salokko at 2,000 m in the Mengkoka Mountains (White and Bruce 1986, Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001).


Little information; likely to be similar to A. princeps and occur in the interior of forest, presumably montane forest (Fry and Fry 1999). The known locality was at 2,000 m (White and Bruce 1986).


Forest destruction on Sulawesi has been extensive in recent decades; Miettinen et al. (2011) estimate the rate of forest loss on Sulawesi to be 10.8% between 2000 and 2010, however, the rate of forest loss in the lowlands and foothills is likely to be higher than the overall rate. Losses are being driven by clearance for transmigration settlements, agricultural and infrastructural development and large-scale logging. Most primary forest below 1,000 m (mostly lower than the elevational range of this species) has been reduced to remnant patches, supplanted by secondary, disturbed and commercially utilised forest, and such losses are likely to now be extending higher into hill and montane forest.

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted actions are known.

Conservation and research actions proposed

Conduct repeated surveys of known and potential sites across Sulawesi in order to determine abundance and population trends. Conduct ecological studies to determine levels of tolerance of secondary habitats, particularly in areas where primary forests have been extirpated. Ensure the protection of existing forest reserves.


24-25 cm. A medium-sized forest kingfisher with a black face shading to blue-green on the rest of the head, plain brownish upperparts and almost plain rufous below. The female has buff supercilium and moustacial stripes. Similar species. A. princeps has an all dark-blue head and extensive buffy barring on the upperparts.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Actenoides regalis. Downloaded from on 16/07/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/07/2019.