Rufous-lored Kingfisher Todiramphus winchelli


Justification of Red List Category
This kingfisher qualifies as Vulnerable because it is thought to be undergoing a rapid population decline as a result of the extensive loss of lowland forested habitats throughout its range.

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
Continuing deforestation throughout the species's range is suspected to be driving a rapid and on-going population decline.

Distribution and population

Todiramphus winchelli is endemic to the Philippines, where it is widely distributed throughout the Visayas, Mindanao and the Sulus (BirdLife International 2001). Formerly described as locally common to fairly abundant, recent records derive from c.15 widely scattered localities, on Sibuyan, Masbate, Biliran, Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Tablas, eastern Mindanao, and three of the Sulu islands. A very small population was recently discovered on Camiguin Sur (D. Allen in litt. 2012). Although a comparison of historical and recent records suggests a decline, it was still locally common on the Sulu islands in the mid-1990s and common at Bislig (Mindanao) in 1997. However, it appears rare at other sites, some of which are likely to hold only relict populations. Total numbers seem likely to be small, although records since 2005 in a 235-ha forest block in the Malagos watershed suggest that it may survive in other lowland remnant forest blocks in Mindanao (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007). The largely intact and well protected Pasonanca Watershed Area in Zamboanga City may hold a sizeable population (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007).


It occurs on small islands and coastal lowland sites and also inland foothills, locally up to 1,000 m (on Mindanao). However, the factors governing its distribution, including its association with freshwater, remain uncertain. Evidence suggests that it prefers forest on limestone, which makes it tolerant of open and more degraded forest. Alternatively, it may simply prefer large trees, which are now largely confined to limestone areas unsuitable for cultivation. One nest was found in an old arboreal termite nest (D. Allen in litt. 2012).


Extensive deforestation throughout its range must be the main threat, particularly given its apparent preference for lowland areas. The two sites where it has recently been described as common are severely threatened, Bislig from illegal logging and clearance for re-planting with exotic trees for paper production and Tawitawi and the neighbouring Sulu islands by rapid, near total clearance of primary forests and plans to replace even those remaining with oil-palm plantations. Illegal logging threatens the key site of Rajah Sikatuna National Park on Bohol.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
There are recent records from areas afforded varying degrees of protection, including Mt Guitinguitin on Sibuyan, Rajah Sikatuna National Park on Bohol and the tiny Central Cebu National Park on Cebu. A proposal exists to provide conservation funding for the Tawitawi/Sulu Coastal Area. Kansas University plan to conduct a complete inventory of forest vertebrates in the Pasonanca Watershed Area in Zamboanga City in early 2008 (J. Ibanez in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to clarify its current distribution and status. Research its ecological preferences to improve understanding of its conservation needs and facilitate development of appropriate protection measures. Seek clarification of the proposal for conservation funding for the Tawitawi/Sulu Coastal Area.


25 cm. Medium-large kingfisher of forest and forest edge. Male has blackish, heavy bill with pale base to lower mandible. White underparts. Blackish upperparts, glossed blue, shining blue on crown and rump. Large loral spot and rufous nuchal collar. Female similar to male but drabber underparts are washed buff-orange on breast and flanks. Several subspecies vary in intensity of blue and amount of buff on underparts. Similar spp. Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris has paler blue-green upperparts and clear white collar. Voice Rapid series of short, clear whistles, descending in pitch and tailing off. Hints Best located by call. Most vocal early morning.


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

Allen, D., Ibanez, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Todiramphus winchelli. Downloaded from on 19/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 19/05/2022.