Coraciiformes Taxon Advisory Group -
Guam Micronesian Kingfisher (Todiramphus c. cinnamominus)
SSP Manager: Beth Bahner - Philadelphia Zoo
There are three remaining subspecies of Micronesian kingfisher including the critically endangered Todiramphus c. cinnamominus from Guam, T. c. pelewinsis, which has a declining population on Palau island but is not at this time considered to be threatened, and the subspecies with the highest population numbers, T. c. reichenbachii from Pohnpei. There was also T. c. miyakoensis, which has been considered to be extinct since 1887 when a single specimen was taken from S. Ryukyu Island. The Coraciiformes TAG focuses on the Guam Micronesian Kingfisher population.
Previously, the Guam Micronesian kingfisher was considered to be a common and widespread resident of the island. The growth and development of the island along with the expansion of a U.S. airbase eliminated much of the resident forest and the habitat of the kingfisher. Along with the habitat decline, the accidental introduction of the brown tree snake caused significant drops in the population. By 1985, only ten pairs and ten solitary males were located and the only successful breeding on the island was in a snake-proofed location. In 1986, the remaining 29 birds were captured and all living birds are currently located in captive breeding programs.
Micronesian kingfishers have a rufous crown, blackish-green mask extending around the nape, dark blue-green upperparts, purplish-blue wings, and cinnamon-rufous wing linings. In the females and juveniles the rufous body parts are pale in color. They are approximately 20cm (8 inches) in body length and approximately 58-74 grams in body weight.
The Micronesian kingfisher is currently extinct in the wild and has an ongoing captive breeding program with the ultimate goal of reintroduction to the island in the future. The captive population has grown to well over 100 birds currently from a historical low of approximately 29 birds. A small number of birds have recently been returned to a captive situation on the island while work with the captive population continues in hopes of an eventual release program.
The range of the Micronesian kingfisher includes Pohnpei, Palau Islands, and formerly Guam and Miyako Jima.
Micronesian kingfishers inhabit woods, forest, and marginal areas between natural woodland and country cleared for farming and settlement. In north Guam they lived in the remaining native forest on limstone soils and on mixed upland woods. They were found in wooded coastal lowlands among coconut palms, at the edges of mangrove swamps, and in spacious gardens.
Both sexes work to excavate a cavity in a tall tree or coconut palm approximately three to eight meters above the ground in a tall tree or coconut palm. The pair may excavate many cavities within the territory, although only one will be utilized for nesting. The typical clutch size is two eggs, though infrequently as many as three eggs may be found in a clutch, which will be incubated for approximately 22 days. Both parents provide care for the offspring in the nest and after fledging in approximatley 32 days. The breeding season on Guam falls between December and July, while on Pohnpei breeding is typically in August.
Micronesian Kingfisher Chick Weight Gain (Captive Parent-reared)
Micronesian Kingfisher Chick Weight Gain (Captive Hand-reared)
Consumes a diet consisting of large terrestrial insects and small vertebrates. These may include items such as grasshoppers, cicadas, skinks, and anoles. The Micronesian kingfisher perches on a low, exposed branch and waits for potential prey items, which are typically caught from the ground.