Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Chattering Kingfisher (Todiramphus tutus) - HBW 6, p. 224

French: Martin-chasseur respecté German: Boraboraliest Spanish: Alción Respetado
Other common names: Pacific/Polynesian/Bora Bora/Respected/South Pacific Kingfisher, Leeward Island Kingfisher; Mangaia Island Kingfisher (ruficollaris)

Taxonomy: Alcedo tuta J. F. Gmelin, 1788, Tahiti.
Genus often merged into Halcyon. Forms a superspecies with T. sanctus, T. australasia, T. veneratus, T. gambieri and T. godeffroyi. Species name often given as tuta, but is Latinized Greek adjective and must agree with masculine genus name. Taxonomy of this group uncertain, and species boundaries not clear. Race ruficollaris often considered a separate species mainly on account of differences in vocalizations and greater development of rufous in plumage, though latter seems to represent the extreme of a range of plumage variation; on dat.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Alcedo tuta J. F. Gmelin, 1788, Tahiti.
Genus often merged into Halcyon. Forms a superspecies with T. sanctus, T. australasia, T. veneratus, T. gambieri and T. godeffroyi. Species name often given as tuta, but is Latinized Greek adjective and must agree with masculine genus name. Taxonomy of this group uncertain, and species boundaries not clear. Race ruficollaris often considered a separate species mainly on account of differences in vocalizations and greater development of rufous in plumage, though latter seems to represent the extreme of a range of plumage variation; on data currently available, probably better regarded as a race of present species, or possibly even of T. sanctus; due to erroneous placement of Alcedo azurea ruficollaris in T. sanctus in past, name ruficollaris for Mangaia birds was thought to be preoccupied and a replacement name, mangaia, published, but ruficollaris is available and valid and has priority. Extinct nominate race of T. gambieri sometimes placed within present species on basis of morphological criteria, but on limited information presently available it is probably better combined with the other Tuamotu taxon, gertrudae, in a separate species. Races marinus, sacer, manuae and pealei of T. chloris might actually belong in present species. Detailed genetic research required to clarify these taxonomic problems, but this is hampered by scattered distribution of the various populations over thousands of kilometres of Pacific Ocean. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • tutus ( J. F. Gmelin, 1788) - Tupai, Maupiti, Bora Bora, Tahaa, Raiatea, Huahine and Tahiti (Society Is).
  • atiu ( Holyoak, 1974) - Atiu (SE Cook Is).
  • mauke ( Holyoak, 1974) - Mauke (SE Cook Is).
  • ruficollaris ( Holyoak, 1974) - Mangaia (SE Cook Is).