This tiny forest kingfisher is undergoing a continuing rapid population decline owing to extensive lowland deforestation throughout its range, and it thus qualifies as Vulnerable.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Distribution and populationCeyx melanurus
12 cm. Tiny, rufous, forest kingfisher. Rufous plumage, washed lilac on ear-coverts, crown, breast and rump. White throat and belly, off-white lores, blue-and-white neck blaze, blackish wings glossed blue and black. Black "V" mark on back. Bright red bill and legs. Subspecies C. m. platenae larger, more lilac, less black in wings. Subspecies C. m. samarensis larger, darker and washed more with lilac. Voice Thin, high-pitched squeak.
is endemic to the Philippines
, where it is known from the islands of Luzon, Polillo, Alabat, Catanduanes, Tablas, Samar, Leyte, Mindanao and Basilan (Collar et al.
1999). There are records from c.60 sites, with documented observations from c.20 since 1980, mostly on Luzon but also Polillo, Catanduanes, Leyte and Mindanao. It appears to be generally scarce or rare, but it is secretive and difficult to observe and consequently may be under-recorded. Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.Trend justification
Forest clearance for wood-pulp and oil-palm plantations continues within the Philippines and it is suspected to be causing a rapid population decline in this species.Ecology
It is a lowland specialist, inhabiting forest understorey and secondary growth from sea-level to 750 m. Although it frequents watercourses, mainly small streams, probably for foraging, any association with them appears to be no more incidental than obligate. It appears to prefer regions of high rainfall (D. Allen in litt
. 2012). Threats
Extensive lowland deforestation on all islands in its range is the main threat. Forest cover in the Sierra Madre mountains on Luzon has declined by 83% since the 1930s. Most remaining lowland forest that is not afforded protection is leased to logging concessions and mining applications. Specific threats at key sites with recent records include illegal logging at Angat Dam (Luzon) and forest clearance under a concession at Bislig (Mindanao) for replacement with exotic trees for paper production. Typhoons on Catanduanes, in 1987 and 1996, destroyed large areas of forest and augmented flooding and silting of watercourses. Conservation actions underway
There are recent records from several areas offering varying degrees of protection, including the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park and Bicol and Quezon National Parks (all on Luzon), and Polillo Watershed Forest Reserve. It is also recorded regularly in Pasonanca Natural Park, Alabat Watershed Forest Reserve and Aurora Memorial National Park (per
D. Allen in litt
. 2012). There are also pre-1970 records from sites now within Mt Isarog and Mt Makiling National Parks, the Basilan Natural Biotic Area and the watershed reserve at Mt Hilong-hilong (Mindanao); protected areas that may supply some protection. Conservation actions proposed
Identify remaining significant lowland forest tracts throughout its range. Comprehensively survey these sites, particularly those with pre-1980 records, to clarify its current distribution and status and provide data for further designation of key lowland sites as protected areas. Support the designation of central Catanduanes as a watershed reserve. Promote the effective protection of remaining lowland forest in the Northern Sierra Madre Mountains Natural Park.
Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Hear sounds for this species from xeno-canto, the community database of shared bird sounds from around the world.
View photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Lowen, J., Peet, N., Taylor, J.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Ceyx melanurus. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species