Sulawesi Lilac Kingfisher Cittura cyanotis


Justification of Red List category
This species has a very 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 has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach 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 been quantified, but it is considered uncommon to relatively common. More research is required.

Trend justification
Data on population trends are lacking, but Miettinen et al. (2011) estimate the rate of forest loss on Sulawesi to be 10.8% between 2000 and 2010, therefore this species is suspected to be in slow to moderate decline as a result of on-going habitat loss and degradation. The rate of the decline is not thought to be more rapid because this species appears to adapt well to modified habitats.

Distribution and population

Cittura cyanotis is restricted to Sulawesi, Indonesia (BirdLife International 2001). Its distribution is apparently fragmented, with no records from south Sulawesi, but is moderately common in almost all forested areas in north Sulawesi (Fry and Fry 1999, J. Riley in litt. 2013) and also present near Luwuk in east Sulawesi, near Masamba in south-central Sulawesi, and on the south-east peninsula (Fry and Fry 1999). Common in Tangkoko-Batuangus Reserve (Fry and Fry 1999). 


This species inhabits primary and tall secondary lowland forest and drier hill forest up to 1,000 m, but seems to be predominantly restricted to primary forest (del Hoyo et al. 2001, Riley 2002).


Miettinen et al. (2011) estimate the rate of forest loss on Sulawesi to be 10.8% between 2000 and 2010, driven primarily by agricultural expansion and logging for timber.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct ecological studies to identify its habitat requirements and response to habitat degradation. Repeat surveys throughout the range in order to assess population trends. Protect areas of suitable habitat.


28 cm. Striking large forest kingfisher with lilac ear coverts, blue-black mask, and brown upperparts. The brown tail is relatively long and graduated, and the bill is bright red. Similar species. C. sanghirensis (previously included with the present species) has a much stronger lilac colour on the breast and ear coverts, has a black forehead, mask and malar area and a slightly longer tail. Voice. A very rapid ku-ku-ku-ku repeated every few minutes.


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

Riley, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Cittura cyanotis. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023.