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Lilac Kingfisher
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Cittura cyanotis cyanotis
Information
Common Name Celebes Flat-billed kingfisher
Range lowlands of the Indonesia island of Sulawesi and the neighboring Sangihe and Talaud Islands.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae
Halcyoninae
Genus Cittura
Species Cittura cyanotis
Conservation Status
NTSpecies
Near Threatened

The Lilac kingfisher or Celebes flat-billed kingfisher (Cittura cyanotis), is a species of resident breeding tree kingfisher in the lowlands of the Indonesia island of Sulawesi and the neighboring Sangihe and Talaud Islands. It is the only member of the genus Cittura.

Description

The lilac kingfisher is 28 cm (11 inches) long. It has the typical kingfisher shape, with a short tail and long bill. The adult male of the nominate race, C. c. cyanotis, has a brown crown and back and rufous rump and tail. It has a blue eye mask, separated from the crown by a white line, and a pale lilac ruff of long stiffened ear covert feathers. The underparts are white and the wings are blue, separated by a white line from the brown back. The red bill is large and flattened. In flight, the underwings are white with a black wrist patch.

The female has a black, rather than blue, mask and upperwing coverts, and her supercilium is black, spotted with white. The juvenile resembles the adult, but is duller and browner with a grey-brown bill.

There are two or three subspecies:

  • Cittura cyanotis cyanotis: northern Sulawesi
  • Cittura cyanotis modesta: eastern and southeastern Sulawesi. This form, which is not recognised by some authorities, has less stiff ear coverts than nominate cyanotis. These feathers are lilac in the male and rufous in the female. The throat is rufous-lilac in both sexes.
  • Cittura cyanotis sanghirensis: Sangihe and Talaud islands. This subspecies is substantially larger and longer-billed than the nominate race. It has brighter, more rufous upperparts, a black forehead and mask, stiff, bright lilac ear coverts and upper breast, and a white chin.

The call of this large tree kingfisher is a rapid ku-ku-ku-ku.

The lilac kingfisher is unlikely to be confused with any other kingfishers in its range.

Behavior

The lilac kingfisher is found in lowland rainforest and drier hill forest up to 1000 m altitude.

It perches motionless on a low branch watching for its prey, mainly large insects, on the ground below. Little else is known of the behaviour of this species, and no nests have been found.

Status

This species has a restricted range and fragmented distribution, and is uncommon, with no records from south Sulawesi. Lowland deforestation has been extensive in recent decades, and the loss of its habitat has led to lilac kingfisher being classed as near threatened.

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