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Guam Kingfisher
Todiramphus cinnamominus -Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, USA -male-8
Male at the Lincoln Park Zoo
Information
Range Pacific Islands of Guam.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae
Halcyoninae
Genus Todiramphus
Species Todiramphus cinnamominus
Conservation Status
EWSpecies
Extinct in the Wild

The Guam Kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus), is a species of tree kingfisher from the Pacific Islands of Guam. It is restricted to a captive breeding program following its extinction in the wild due to the introduced Brown Tree Snake.

Taxonomy

In addition, the mysterious extinct Ryūkyū Kingfisher, known from a single specimen, is sometimes placed as a subspecies (Todiramphus cinnamominus miyakoensis; Fry et al.. 1992). Among-island differences in morphological, behavioral, and ecological characteristics have been determined sufficient that Micronesian Kingfisher populations, of which the Guam Kingfisher was considered a subspecies, should be split into separate species.

Description

MicronesianKingFisherWeb

Female

This is a brilliantly colored, medium-sized kingfisher, 20–24 cm in length. They have iridescent blue backs and rusty-cinnamon heads. Adult male Guam Kingfishers have cinnamon underparts while females and juveniles are white below. They have large laterally-flattened bills and dark legs. The calls of Micronesian kingfishers are generally raspy chattering.

Behavior

Guam Kingfishers were terrestrial forest generalists that tended to be somewhat secretive. These birds nested in cavities excavated from soft-wooded trees and arboreal termitaria, on Guam (Marshall 1989). Micronesian kingfishers defended permanent territories as breeding pairs and family groups (Kesler 2006). Both sexes care for young, and some offspring remain with parents for extended periods (Kesler 2002).

Conservation Status

The Guam Kingfisher population was extirpated after the introduction of Brown Tree Snakes (Savidge 1984), and the birds are now U.S. listed as endangered (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1984). The Guam Kingfishers remain only as a captive population of fewer than one hundred individuals (as of 2006) in U.S. mainland and Guam breeding facilities. However, there are plans to reintroduce these birds back to their native range if protected areas can be established in the few remaining forest tracts on Guam (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2004).

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