Vanuatu Kingfisher Todiramphus farquhari


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it has a moderately small population which is likely to be declining through forest loss and degradation. Rates of forest loss have been lower than predicted, and the species appears moderately tolerant of habitat degradation.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number at least 10,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 6,700 mature individuals (N. Barré in litt. 2008).

Trend justification
Although the species appears moderately tolerant of habitat degradation it is nevertheless suspected to have undergone moderate declines owing to habitat loss.

Distribution and population

Todiramphus farquhari is endemic to Espiritu Santo, Malo, Aore and Malakula in Vanuatu. It was reported to be fairly widely distributed on all these islands in 2004-2005 (N. Barre in litt. 2007, S. Totterman in litt. 2007). On Santo, the population density was estimated at c.7-17 calling birds per km2 at Loru Protected Area (Bowen 1997), and the species is still considered fairly common in suitable habitat (Dutson 2011), but birds appear to be less common at Big Bay Protected Area and perhaps elsewhere (G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998). Though it is not hard to find in suitable habitat, numbers are believed to have declined on the east coast of Santo owing to habitat loss (S. Totterman in litt. 2007).


It replaces T. chloris in dark bush - the densest parts of closed-canopy forest (Medway and Marshall 1975, Bregulla 1992, S. Totterman in litt. 2007), however it also occurs in other forest types, such as dry forest (S. Totterman in litt. 2007). It is most common in primary evergreen rainforest, from sea-level to at least 800 m, and it has been considered more common in the hills (Bregulla 1992, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998, Kratter et al. 2006). It appears to be able to tolerate even fairly open secondary and logged forest and forest patches (S. Totterman in litt. 2007). It feeds on lizards and insects from a perch low in the forest and nests in arboreal termite nests (Bregulla 1992).


On Santo, large areas of logged forest have been converted into cattle pasture, and on Malakula and Malo the situation is probably similar. Being an understorey species, it is likely to be affected by habitat degradation of primary and logged forest by feral cattle and pigs (Bregulla 1992, S. Maturin in litt. 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected under Vanuatu law. It occurs in the two protected areas on Santo: Big Bay and Loru (Bowen 1997, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1998).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey Malo and Malakula. Survey Santo to ascertain its distribution and abundance. Determine habitat and altitudinal requirements. Determine tolerance of logged forest. Ascertain extent of remaining closed-canopy lowland forest. Monitor numbers at Loru and Big Bay protected areas through annual aural surveys. Assess effects of cattle and pig browsing by monitoring in a large fenced-off sector of Loru Protected Area. Advocate creation of forest reserves on each major island.


19 cm. Medium-sized, blue-black, chestnut-and-white kingfisher. Similar to many congeners. Upperparts are iridescent deep purple-blue with clear white collar and loral spot. Underparts are largely orange-rufous. Similar spp. White-collared Kingfisher T. chloris found in more open habitats and larger and pale turquoise-blue above with variable orange or rufous on supercilium, flanks and sometimes belly. Voice Long, accelerating series of chirps, repeated for more than a minute. Hints Best seen by stalking calling birds.


Text account compilers
Dutson, G., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Stattersfield, A. & Symes, A.

Barré, N., Diamond, J., Dutson, G., Maturin, S. & Totterman, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Todiramphus farquhari. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/10/2020.