Sombre Kingfisher Todiramphus funebris


Justification of Red List category
This species has a large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size does not meet the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not previously been estimated specifically. The density of Wallacean congeners has consistently been recorded at c.4-4.5 individuals/km2 (see Jones et al. [1995] and Marsden [1998]) and based on qualitative descriptions of abundance in Eaton et al. (2021), this density is deemed appropriate for T. funebris. Within the species' range, c.13,000 km2 of forest remained in 2021 (Global Forest Watch 2022, based on data from Hansen et al. [2013] and methods disclosed therein). Assuming an occupancy rate of 30-60% to reflect the species' description as scarce (Coates and Bishop 1997, Eaton et al. 2021), although also noting it is elusive, the population is inferred to number c.15,000-35,000 individuals, equating to c.10,000-25,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Over the past three generations, 6.5-10.0% of forest within this species' range has been lost (Global Forest Watch 2022, based on data from Hansen et al. [2013] and methods disclosed therein). Losses are also projected into the future and may accelerate (to a rate equivalent to c.10-15% over three generations) between 2020 and 2053 (Voigt et al. 2021). As a forest dependent species (that apparently shuns edge; Eaton et al. [2021]) the rate of forest loss is thought to be broadly equivalent (or perhaps slightly less than) population losses, thus the past rate of population reduction is suspected to be 5-15% over three generations, while the future rate of reduction is suspected to be 10-19% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Todiramphus funebris is endemic to the island of Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia.


It is resident in closed-canopy primary forest (where it perches in shady locations in the lower canopy and middle storey), often overlooking clearings, swamp-forest dominated by sago palms with few tall trees, tall secondary woodland, mangroves and forest edge, from the lowlands up to 620 m (but most frequently below 300 m). It also visits cultivated habitats (including coconut-groves and plantations).


The species is threatened by habitat loss. Exploitation of economically valuable trees is now widespread and increasingly intensive (Hansen et al. 2013, Voigt et al. 2021, Global Forest Watch 2022). In addition, habitat is under pressure from increased settlement and transmigration, conversion to agriculture, plantations, irrigation schemes, fuelwood-collection and mineral extraction.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
This species has been nominally protected under Indonesian law since 1931. A large national park that has been established on Halmahera, encompassing 3,550 km2 of all representative forest-types on the island, between Lalobata and Ake Tajawe supports a population of the species (M. Poulsen in litt. 2007, eBird 2022).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys for the species to clarify its current distribution, status and ecological requirements (particularly to clarify the importance of intact forest). Determine and implement appropriate conservation actions, including the establishment of key sites as strict protected areas. Initiate conservation awareness programmes to elicit support for reduced forest clearance.


28 cm. Distinctive, piebald kingfisher. Stout, blackish bill. Blackish crown and ear-coverts, separated by long white stripe from bill to nape. White underparts and collar, with black patch on breast-sides. Rest of upperparts blackish to olive-green in male, olive-brown in female. Similar spp. Blue-and-white Kingfisher T. diops is smaller, bluer above, lacks white supercilium and has white spot on lores. Sacred Kingfisher T. sanctus is less dark above, lacks white supercilium and has smaller bill. Voice Slow ki-ki-ki, or three loud, descending wails and slurred, nasal disyllables.


Text account compilers
Berryman, A.

Poulsen, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Todiramphus funebris. Downloaded from on 24/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/09/2023.