Yellow-billed kingfisher

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Yellow-billed kingfisher
Syma torotoro.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Alcedinidae
Subfamily: Halcyoninae
Genus: Syma
Species: S. torotoro
Binomial name
Syma torotoro
Lesson, 1827

Halcyon torotoro

The yellow-billed kingfisher (Syma torotoro) is a medium-sized (length 20 cm, wingspan 29 cm, weight 40 g) tree kingfisher.


Its colouring is distinctive; it has an orange head and neck with a black nape patch and white throat. Adult females also have a black crown patch. The upper mantle is blackish grading to olive green on the back, blue-green on rump and with a blue tail. The upperwing is dull green-blue with dark olive-black flight feathers. The underparts are pale orange-grey. The bill is orange-yellow in adults, dark grey in juveniles.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The kingfisher is widespread throughout lowland New Guinea and the adjacent islands, extending to northern Cape York Peninsula in Australia. It may be found in rainforest, monsoon forest and along forest edges.


With a large range and no evidence of significant decline, the conservation status of this species is assessed as being of Least Concern.


The kingfisher is known to prey on large insects, earthworms and lizards.


The birds nest in an excavated chamber in an arboreal termite nest, laying a clutch of 3-8 white eggs.


Calls include loud, repeated whistling trills, mainly during the breeding season.


  • BirdLife International. (2006). Species factsheet: Syma torotoro. Downloaded from on 14 March 2007.
  • Coates, Brian J. (1985). The Birds of Papua New Guinea. Volume 1: Non-Passerines. Dove Publications: Alderley, Queensland. ISBN 0-9590257-0-7
  • Higgins, P.J. (ed). (1999). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 4: Parrots to Dollarbird. Oxford University Press: Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-553071-3