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Discover the Colorful World of the Cinnamon-Banded Kingfisher

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, also known as Todiramphus australasia, is a colorful bird species found in various parts of New Guinea and surrounding islands. With its striking blue, green, and cinnamon-colored feathers, this bird is highly distinctive, making it easy to identify in the wild.

In this article, we will explore the different aspects of the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, including its identification, plumages, and molts to give readers a comprehensive understanding of this fascinating bird species.


Field Identification

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a medium-sized bird, measuring around 29 cm in length and weighing approximately 96g. Its plumage is bright and colorful, with a blue-green dorsal side, green wings, and a cinnamon-colored band across its chest.

The bird’s bill is thick and black, while its legs and feet are gray. The birds eyes are white with a black pupil, surrounded by a striking blue ring.

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a solitary bird species and is known to inhabit dense forests near streams, rivers, and mangroves.

Similar Species

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is highly distinctive; however, it closely resembles the Blue-winged Kookaburra in appearance. The main difference between the two species is that the Blue-winged Kookaburra has a more extended bill, a bluer head, and a white eye with a brown iris.

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, on the other hand, has a shorter and thicker black bill, blue eyes, and white pupils.


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher has a distinctive plumage, making it relatively easy to identify. However, it has several distinct plumages during various stages of its life cycle.

These different plumages occur due to molting, a natural process that occurs in birds when they discard old feathers and replace them with new ones.


Like all birds, Cinnamon-banded Kingfishers undergo molting, which is a necessary process that helps them maintain their feathers and keep them in excellent condition. The molting process in Cinnamon-banded Kingfishers occurs twice a year, once in the breeding season and another during the non-breeding season.

During the breeding season, the male Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher molts its feathers, developing a brighter and more vibrant plumage, which he uses to attract a mate. He also grows new feathers on his wings, tail, and body, replacing the old ones that have worn out over time.

During the non-breeding season, the bird molts again, losing some of its bright colors and becoming somewhat duller. In this period, the bird grows new feathers that are more suited to its winter habitat, helping it thrive in different seasons and conditions.


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a striking bird species that is easy to identify in the wild. With its bright blue, green, and cinnamon-colored feathers, this bird is highly distinctive and an excellent subject for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.

Understanding its identification, plumages, and molts can help bird lovers appreciate these bird’s beauty and give them deeper insights into the avian world.

Systematics History

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher has a taxonomic classification of Todiramphus australasia, and it belongs to the Halcyonidae family. Its genus name, Todiramphus, is derived from the Latin words “todus,” meaning “a bird that feeds on lizards,” and “ramphos,” meaning “beak,” which is apt given the bird’s feeding habits and appearance.

Geographic Variation

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher has a wide range found throughout various parts of New Guinea and surrounding islands, with some variations between different regions. This variation occurs due to the bird’s adaptation to different ecological niches within these regions.


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is divided into three distinct subspecies:

1. Todiramphus australasia crissalis: Found in the western end of the island in the Bird’s Head Peninsula region, this subspecies has a paler chest band compared to other subspecies.

2. Todiramphus australasia bimaculatus: This subspecies is found in the northern and eastern parts of the main island and the nearby islands.

It has a broader chest band and is slightly larger than the other subspecies. 3.

Todiramphus australasia australasia: This subspecies is found in the southern regions of the main island and nearby islands. It has a narrow chest band and is smaller than the other subspecies.

Related Species

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is part of the Halcyonidae family, which consists of approximately 90 species of small to medium-sized kingfishers. Some of the closely related species of the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher include the Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) and the Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus).

Historical Changes to Distribution

The distribution of the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher has undergone significant changes over time, primarily due to human activities such as deforestation and habitat destruction. The bird’s habitat range has shrunk considerably, leading to a decrease in the bird’s population.

In Papua New Guinea, where the majority of the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher population is located, the bird’s habitat continues to be destroyed to accommodate human activities such as agriculture, mining, and logging. The Bird’s Head Peninsula region has been subject to habitat fragmentation resulting from unchecked logging and mining activities, leading to a decrease in bird populations due to loss of habitat.

Despite the challenges that the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher faces, there are remain areas of hope. The region of the Nongsa in Indonesia has been well-protected and serves as an essential conservation area for the bird.

The Nongsa is part a protected marine park and a well-managed natural reserve, offering critical protection for the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher against human activities. In conclusion, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is an important bird species that plays a vital role in the ecosystem of New Guinea and surrounding islands.

Understanding the bird’s systematics history, geographical variation, subspecies, and historical changes to its distribution provides deeper insights into this beautiful bird and highlights the importance of conservation efforts to protect it for future generations.


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is predominantly found in dense forests, near streams, rivers, and mangroves in various parts of New Guinea and the surrounding islands. These forests provide ideal habitat for the bird, allowing it to thrive in several conditions.

The bird prefers mature forest that has a dense understory shrub layer, where it builds its nest within cavities of large trees. One of the key factors that make the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher particularly suited to these types of forest habitats is the abundance of prey they provide.

The bird’s diet consists mainly of insects such as grasshoppers, termites, and beetles, as well as small lizards, snakes, and rodents. The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is also an opportunistic predator, taking advantage of available food sources.

Movements and Migration

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is known to be a sedentary and non-migratory bird species. It is less likely to migrate than other kingfishers, primarily because its habitat range is limited to a relatively small region in New Guinea.

The bird is not capable of long-distance flight and is considered a weak flier. However, there are seasonal habitat fluctuations that the bird experiences, making it move within its habitat range.

During the wet season, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher spends time along the waterways and streams, where it can hunt prey more efficiently. During the dry season, however, the bird shifts inland, preferring to spend time in dense forests and forage for prey among trees and shrubs.

When nesting, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is fiercely territorial and seldom leaves its breeding grounds, known as an established habitat territory. The established habitat territory is essential to ensure the success of breeding and raising chicks.

Although this bird is non-migratory, it does experience some movements within its habitat range to find suitable food sources during different seasons. These movements rely on the availability of water and prey, among other factors.

Habitat Loss and Conservation

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher’s habitat is at risk due to increasing human activity, primarily deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and degradation of freshwater resources. The Bird’s Head Peninsula region of New Guinea is among the areas that have experienced significant habitat loss, putting the bird at risk of extinction.

Several conservation programs have been put in place to conserve the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher and its habitat. These include developing ecotourism in the region, which provides a sustainable form of income for locals and encourages the conservation of the bird’s habitat.

Management plans, including regulations and restrictions, are also in place to protect the Birds Head Peninsula region’s natural reserves and forested areas. In conclusion, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a unique bird species known for its sedentary lifestyle and preference for forest habitats.

The bird’s movements are limited to within its habitat range, where it can find prey and water sources to survive. Human activities, such as deforestation and habitat loss, pose a significant threat to this species, making it critical to implement effective conservation strategies to preserve the species and its habitat.

Diet and Foraging

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher feeds mainly on insects, lizards, snakes, and rodents, foraging for prey while perched on a branch or while hovering over open areas. The bird uses its keen eyesight and fast reflexes to catch prey, striking with precision to immobilize the prey before consuming it.


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is an opportunistic predator that takes advantage of available food sources. It uses several techniques for capturing prey, including perch hunting, aerial hunting, and ground hunting.

In perch hunting, the bird sits on a high perch, such as a tree or a post, and surveys the surrounding area for potential prey. Once a target is spotted, the bird rapidly drops down onto the prey, stunning or killing it with its sharp beak.

In aerial hunting, the bird hovers in mid-air, eyeing its potential prey below. Once prey is spotted, the bird swoops down, snatching up its target in mid-air.

In ground hunting, the bird hunts for prey on the forest floor, stalking its target and waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher’s diet consists mainly of insects, including grasshoppers, termites, and beetles. The bird also preys on small lizards, snakes, rodents, and occasionally small birds.

The bird’s diet is reflective of its habitat and available food sources, with seasonal variation in prey availability affecting its feeding habits.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is an endothermic animal, able to regulate its body temperature internally. To sustain its high metabolic rate, the bird has a relatively large heart and powerful muscles in its chest that allow it to maintain its rapid hunting speed.

The bird’s body is also equipped with a range of physiological adaptations that allow it to cope with thermoregulation demands in different environments.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is known for its distinctive vocalizations, used for communication and territorial behavior. The birds’ calls are loud and distinctive, consisting of a variety of single-note sounds that vary in pitch, tone, and duration.

The bird’s calls are a common feature of forest sounds and are used to announce the bird’s presence, defend its territory, and attract a mate. Male Cinnamon-banded Kingfishers have a distinct courtship call, characterized by a low-pitched, repetitive sound that varies in volume.

The call is thought to be used to attract a potential mate and secure territory for breeding.

The birds also have alarm calls, which are used to warn others of impending danger.

These alarm calls may vary in tone and pitch, depending on the type of threat faced.

In conclusion, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a unique bird species known for its diverse foraging techniques, diet, and vocalizations.

The bird’s hunting behaviors are reflective of its habitat conditions, making it a fascinating bird species to observe in the wild. The bird’s vocalizations provide insights into its territorial behavior and communication with others of its species.



The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a skilled flier, relying on its powerful wings to navigate through the forest canopy. The bird’s wings are relatively short, allowing it to make quick and agile turns, which are essential for hunting prey.

On the ground, the bird has short legs and sharp claws that enable it to grasp onto trees and branches while hunting.

Self Maintenance

The bird is fastidious about its feather grooming, using its long bill to preen and clean its feathers, ensuring they remain in optimal condition for flying and hunting.

Agonistic Behavior

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is known to be an aggressive bird species, fiercely defending its territory against potential threats. When faced with other male birds, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher engages in aggressive behavior, including threatening calls and physical attacks.

These confrontations are often resolved through aggressive physical displays rather than actual fights.

Sexual Behavior

The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is monogamous, mating with a single partner for life, with males engaging in courtship displays to attract a mate. During mating season, the male will defend the nest, ensuring his partner is safe.

After the female has laid her eggs, both male and female birds will take turns incubating the eggs and tending to the young.


The Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher breeds once a year, usually from October to December, depending on the region. During breeding season, the male engages in courtship displays, using his calls and bright feathers to attract a mate.

The female bird typically lays a clutch of 2-3 eggs in a nesting cavity within a high tree. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs, which hatch after approximately 19 days.

Young birds are born naked and helpless, relying entirely on their parents for food and protection. After hatching, the young birds grow quickly, with both parents taking turns to feed and tend to them.

The young birds tend to leave the nest after approximately 32 days, having developed their independence to find their food and defend themselves.

Demography and Populations

The number of Cinnamon-banded Kingfishers is declining, primarily due to ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation of mature forest ecosystems. Deforestation for agriculture and human settlements are among the primary causes of the bird’s habitat loss, degrading the bird’s population and making it vulnerable to extinction.

Conservation initiatives are in place to protect and preserve the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher and its habitat. These include developing ecotourism, educating and engaging local communities to reduce hunting pressure, preserving habitat space, and managing protected areas to support bird populations and natural ecosystems.

In conclusion, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a fascinating bird species that displays distinctive behavior patterns both in its breeding and daily life activities. The bird’s population is under threat due to deforestation and habitat destruction, highlighting the need for effective conservation strategies and initiatives to protect this beautiful species for future generations.

In conclusion, the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher is a colorful and distinctive bird species that plays an essential role in the ecological systems of New Guinea and surrounding islands. The bird’s distinctive behaviors, such as its foraging techniques, vocalizations, and territorial behavior, provide unique insights into its daily life and mating habits.

Furthermore, the bird’s conservation status remains a point of concern, given the ongoing threats posed by habitat loss and fragmentation. Therefore, effective conservation measures are needed to preserve the bird’s habitat and protect the species, ensuring it continues to thrive for future generations to come.

By understanding the intricacies of the Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher’s behavior, populations, and habitat requirements, we can help ensure that this unique bird species remains a vital component of the ecosystem for many years to come.

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