Archived 2017 topics: Blue-black Kingfisher (Todiramphus nigrocyaneus): list as Near Threatened?

Blue-black Kingfisher Todiramphus nigrocyaneus is a little-known species of kingfisher with few scattered records from streams, swamps and ponds in forest to 600 m on New Guinea and some adjacent islands such as Salawati, Batanta and Yapen (Coates 1985, Beehler and Pratt 2016). While it is considered common in the west of its range there are a paucity of records in the east of its range, and there have been only three recent records from Papua New Guinea (Bellchambers et al. 1994, Mack 1998, I. Burrows in litt. 1994). Thus, the population size is tentatively assessed as <10,000 mature individuals with the largest subpopulation maybe approaching <1,000 mature individuals (G. Dutson in litt. 2016).

Logging is causing habitat destruction and degradation within this species’s range, and while its tolerance of logged forest is unknown, all records appear to have been from old-growth forest (G. Dutson in litt. 2016). Therefore, the species is likely in decline as a result of this habitat loss. The Blue-black Kingfisher is currently listed as Data Deficient but on the basis of this information it may warrant listing as Near Threatened. Given its large range (EOO 1,080,000 km2) it would not approach the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion B or D2. Its population size is also too large to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion D1 (<1,000 mature individuals). While it is thought to be declining, the rate of decline is unlikely to approach 30% over 3 generations (14.4 years), and so it would not approach the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion A. However, the population size and population structure would approach the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i) (population undergoing a continuing decline with a population size of <10,000 mature individuals, and no sub-population containing >1,000 mature individuals). Therefore, it is proposed that it be listed as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(i).

We welcome any further information or comments on this proposed listing.



Beehler, B. M.; Pratt, T. K. 2016. Birds of New Guinea. Distribution, taxonomy, and systematics. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Bellchambers, K.; Adams, E.; Edwards, S. 1994. Observations of birds of coastal and lowland Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Muruk 6(3): 28-38.

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

Mack, A. L. 1998. A biological assessment of the Lakekamu Basin, Papua New Guinea. Conservation International, Washington, DC.

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1 Response to Archived 2017 topics: Blue-black Kingfisher (Todiramphus nigrocyaneus): list as Near Threatened?

  1. Hannah Wheatley (BirdLife) says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2017 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 4 August, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2017 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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