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Biak Paradise Kingfisher

Tanysiptera riedelii

The Biak paradise kingfisher, with its scientific name Tanysiptera riedelii, is a resplendent avian jewel endemic to the Indonesian island of Biak. This species is distinguished by its striking turquoise-blue upperparts and pristine white underparts. The bird's impressive tail streamers and a vivid reddish beak add to its allure, making it a sight to behold in its natural forest habitat.

Identification Tips

Adults measure approximately 14 inches (36 cm) from beak to tail tip, with the tail accounting for a significant portion of this length. The crown, nape, and sides of the head shimmer in glossy turquoise-blue, while the rump and base of the tail feathers are white. The underwings present a stark contrast in black. Notably, the two central tail feathers are elongated and end in unique racket-like lobes. The bird's bill is long, stout, and a striking red color.

Habitat

The Biak paradise kingfisher is a forest dweller, favoring the lush and verdant habitats of its island home.

Distribution

This species is confined to Biak Island in Indonesia, where it has evolved in isolation, leading to its current distinctiveness.

Behaviour

While specific studies on the Biak paradise kingfisher are limited, it is believed that its behavior mirrors that of its close relative, the common paradise kingfisher of mainland New Guinea. It likely perches on low branches, diving down to capture insects and earthworms from the forest floor.

Breeding

Breeding habits are inferred from its relatives, suggesting that it nests in tree cavities, hollow branches, or even in holes within arboreal termite nests.

Conservation status

The Biak paradise kingfisher is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN. Although it is relatively common within its small range, its forest home is threatened by logging activities. However, the species shows some adaptability to secondary growth forests, provided that tall trees are available. Conservationists are concerned about a potential decline in population due to habitat loss.

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More Kingfishers

A photo of a Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) , male

Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis
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