Pohnpei Kingfisher Todiramphus reichenbachii


Justification of Red List Category
This recently-split kingfisher is endemic to a single small island, where it is susceptible to the potential introduction of an invasive snake which would likely cause catastrophic population declines and result in the species qualifying as Critically Endangered or Extinct within one to two generations.

Population justification
Spatially explicit habitat models linked to density functions from surveys in 2012 predicted a population size of 17,375 birds (Oleiro and Kessler 2014). This roughly equates to 11,583 mature individuals, and thus the population size is placed in the range 10,000-19,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Surveys in 2014 suggested a mean change in detection rates of -73% and -16% compared to previous surveys in 1983 (Engbring et al. 1990) and 1994 (Buden 2000) respectively. The Engbring et al. (1990) surveys often appear to over-estimate numbers, so the population change is estimated at 16% decline over 20 years or 11.8% over three generations (14.4 years), which is precautionarily assumed to be ongoing.

Distribution and population

Todiramphus reichenbachii is endemic to the island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, where it is thought to be relatively common but declining.


T. reichenbachii is found in a fairly wide variety of habitats throughout the island of Pohnpei, including the edges of mangroves, lowland forest and also marginal and modified habitats with plenty of timber (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001). The nest is in a burrow excavated in rotten wood, with laying taking place in August (Fry and Fry 1999).


The primary threat is the potential arrival of brown tree-snake Boiga irregularis on Pohnpei. This invasive predator lead to the decline and extinction in the wild of T. cinnamominus on Guam. Although the species is known to use a range of habitats, it may have historically suffered some negative effects from deforestation, which has been rapid. Overall, there was a reduction of undisturbed upland forest on Pohnpei of over 60% from 1975 to 1995 (Buden 1996, 2000, B. Raynor in litt. 1995, 2012). The majority of the island's forests have been to various degrees converted or at least degraded to mixed forest (native species mixed with lowland secondary species), largely attributable to the cultivation of sakau (= kava) Piper methysticum as a major cash-crop (B. Raynor in litt. 2012). The fragmentation of such forest by sakau clearings also introduces and encourages the spread of invasive species in isolated areas throughout the forest. Although efforts over the past 20 years to reduce the amount of clear-cutting for sakau plantations have resulted in the slowing of native forest conversion rates, the trend remains negative (B. Raynor in litt. 2012).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted actions are known.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an up-to-date population estimate. Monitor trends in the species's population and land use patterns on Pohnpei. Increase the area of primary forest that is protected. Encourage management practices that preserve suitable nesting trees.


20 cm. A small kingfisher with a rich rufous top of the head, greenish-black mask extending as a thin band around the hindneck, gleaming white lower face, underparts and hindcollar, 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. cinnamominus has either entirely rufous underparts (in male) or rufous breast sharply demarcated from white belly (female), T. pelewensis is noticeably smaller, and the female has nearly black upperparts. Voice. A long and loud series of kewp-kewp-kewp-kewp notes.


Text account compilers
Dutson, G., Khwaja, N., Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Wheatley, H.

Raynor, B., Buchholz, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Todiramphus reichenbachii. Downloaded from on 30/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/06/2022.