Sangihe Dwarf-kingfisher Ceyx sangirensis


Justification of Red List Category
This recently-split species has not been recorded since the original type series. More recent records have been withdrawn. Any remaining extant population is likely to be extremely small, probably numbering far fewer than 250 mature individuals and precautionarily assumed to form a single subpopulation. The species is inferred to be in continuing decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation. It is therefore classified as Critically Endangered. Further searches are planned; if they fail to locate the species, it may be appropriate to list it as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).

Population justification
Any remaining extant population is likely to be extremely small, probably numbering far fewer than 250 mature individuals, and precautionarily assumed to form a single subpopulation.

Trend justification
An ongoing population decline is suspected to be occurring in line with habitat degradation and the conversion of forest to agricultural land throughout the species's range; barely any natural forest now remains on Sangihe.

Distribution and population

Ceyx sangirensis is known from the island of Sangihe (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001), and is listed in some sources as occurring on the Talaud Islands, Indonesia (e.g. del Hoyo et al. 2001). There do not appear to be any additional specimen records other than those initially collected, despite Sangihe being further surveyed in the following years. It is not clear whether it has ever been recorded on Siau or any other nearby islands.
Surveys on Sangihe in 1998-1999 did not yield any records of this taxon, leading to a suspicion that it could be extinct there (Riley 2002), while four days of surveys in two remnant forest patches in 2003 similarly failed to record the species (A. Faustino in litt. 2013). Surveys in 2004-2006 and 2009 and a short visit in the Sahendaruman mountains in January 2014 all failed to find this species (Burung Indonesia in litt. 2014). It appears to be very rare or extirpated on Sangihe, but it is perhaps possible that it could persist in small forest streams and wetlands in plantations or gardens that were not covered during previous forest surveys (C. Robson in litt. 2013).
The status of this species on the Talaud Islands seems uncertain. Riley (1997) did not record the species during fieldwork in 1995, and suggested that it was one of a suite of species that had suffered population reductions as a result of habitat loss. 


The species's ecological requirements are poorly known, but assumed to be similar to those of Sulawesi Dwarf-kingfisher Ceyx fallax. Hence, it likely favours the interior of lowland primary forest, but may tolerate some degree of degradation (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001), especially as other members of the genus may inhabit less pristine areas (S. Mahood in litt. 2016). It likely ranges from sea level up to 1,000 m (Fry and Fry 1999). Yet, as congeners on other islands can occur at higher elevations (C. Robson in litt. 2016), the species may be able to occur at all elevations on Sangihe. Its breeding ecology is unknown.


The forest on Sangihe has been almost completely converted to agriculture. In 2009, it was reported that new government initiatives to plant alien tree species were resulting in the clearance of native forest (Sykes 2009). At first, planting was restricted to areas below 500 m; however, more recent reports indicate that planting is now taking place at higher elevations, in areas at 700-900 m (Sykes 2009).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Conduct further surveys for the species in remaining forest patches on the island, and also in potentially suitable wooded wetland areas, plantations and gardens. If the species is located, attempt to immediately protect sites where it occurs.


13cm. A tiny forest kingfisher with a bright red bill, blue-speckled black crown extending down to eye, lilac cheek and white neck patch, white throat and orange underparts. Upperparts are brown. Lower back, rump and uppertail coverts are royal blue. Similar spp. C. fallax is smaller with the eye not connected to the dark crown, and the lower back, rump and uppertail coverts are bright turquoise.


Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Ashpole, J, Benstead, P., Martin, R., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Westrip, J.

Robson, C., Faustino, A., Mahood, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Ceyx sangirensis. Downloaded from on 22/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2020.