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Marquesas Kingfisher Todiramphus godeffroyi
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This species is listed as Critically Endangered as, following its extinction on Hiva Oa, it is now found on only a single small island on which it is suspected to be declining owing to habitat deterioration and predation.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Halcyon godeffroyi Collar and Andrew (1988), Todirhamphus godeffroyi Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Todirhamphus godeffroyi Collar et al. (1994)

22 cm. Distinctive kingfisher with buff triangle on upper back. Totally white crown, forehead, mantle and centre of upper back. Blue eye-stripe ending as broken line behind head. White underparts. Blue-green lower back, rump, tail and wings. Voice Soft treet-tee-tee and loud, harsh alarm call.

Distribution and population
Todiramphus godeffroyi is endemic to the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, where there were 300-500 pairs on Tahuata in 1975 (Holyoak and Thibault 1984), 695 birds in 2003 (Gouni 2004) and 401-484 birds in 2011 (Withers et al. 2012). It formerly occurred on Hiva Oa, where there were fewer than 50 pairs in 1971 and 1973; it was exceedingly rare on the island in 1990 (Seitre and Seitre 1991) and was last seen in February 1997 in the Atuona Valley. Searches in 2001, 2004 and 2006 failed to find the species and it is considered extinct on the island (J.-C. Thibault in litt. 2000, Gouni 2004, P. Raust in litt. 2007, T. Ghestemme in litt. 2009). Records from Fatu Hiva, Mohotani and Ua Pou are apparently erroneous (Holyoak and Thibault 1984, Thibault 1988).

Population justification
Withers et al. (2012) estimated the population to number 401-484 individuals in 2011, roughly equating to 260-320 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to have undergone a continuing decline on Tahuata during the past three generations (14 years) owing to the effects of habitat degradation, human activities and introduced predators, and it has become extinct on Hiva Oa owing to predation by introduced Bubo virginianus.

It prefers dense, humid forest along the courses of mountain streams and remote valleys from low to mid altitude, but has also been seen in coconut plantations, on dry slopes covered with mango and Eugenia cuminii trees, and on peaks covered with groves of Casuarina. It has been found nesting in an old mango tree, in a decayed screw-pine trunk, in Pandanus spp., dead Cocos nucifera trunks and Ficus spp. (Withers et al. 2012). It feeds principally on insects and lizards (Holyoak and Thibault 1984, Fry et al. 1992, Nitchen and Knowles 1995, Gouni and Zysman 2007).

Extensive damage has been caused to upland forest by feral cattle, horses, goats, sheep and pigs (WWF/IUCN 1994-1995), and this may be causing the continuing decline on Tahuata (Gouni and Zysman 2007). It is thought to have been heavily predated by the introduced Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus on Hiva Oa, and other alien species such as Common Myna Acridotheres tristis and perhaps Black Rat Rattus rattus (introduced c.1915 on Hiva Oa and still present on Tahuata in 2011 [Withers et al. 2012]) may have contributed to the decline (Gouni and Zysman 2007). On Tahuata, Black Rats, Polynesian Rats Rattus exulans and feral cats are known to be present (Autai et al. 2012). The introduction of B. virginianus to Tahuata would be disastrous for this species. However no B. virginianus were detected on Tahuata during the 2011 study, but further investigation is still needed to confirm their absence (Withers et al. 2012). Mynas are currently absent on the island and local inhabitants are aware of the risk of their introduction to Tahuata island (Withers et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
A survey of the species and its threats on Tahuata was planned for 2009 (T. Ghestemme in litt. 2009). Surveys of the species and its threats on Tahuata were conducted in 2003 (Gouni 2004) and 2011 (Withers et al. 2012), investigating the species's behaviour and nesting and territory requirements. Public awareness-raising was implemented with positive results, as inhabitants were previously unaware of the species's endemic status.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Regularly resurvey the species to determine trends. Investigate threats and species distribution knowledge. Work with local stakeholders to protect remaining forest and retain dead trees in plantations, especially in coconut plantations. Take all measures possible to ensure that B. virginianus does not colonise Tahutua. Exclude livestock from the remaining intact forest. Consider the possibility of translocation to a nearby island. Produce a Species Recovery Plan and develop captive breeding populations.

Autai, T., Ghestemme, T. and Withers, A. T. 2012. A la rencontre des derniers martins-chasseurs des Marquises. Te Manu 77: 4-5.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Fry, C. H.; Fry, K.; Harris, A. 1992. Kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers. Christopher Helm, London.

Gouni, A. 2004. Situation du Pahi Martin-chasseur des Marquises (Polynésie Française) (Todiramphus godeffroyi).

Gouni, A.; Zysman, T. 2007. Oiseaux du Fenua: Tahiti et ses îles. Téthys Éditions, Tahiti.

Holyoak, D. T.; Thibault, J. -C. 1984. Contribution à l'étude des oiseaux de Polynésie orientale. Memoires du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle - Serie A: Zoologie 127: 1-209.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Nitchen, J. W.; Knowles, L. J. 1995. Kingfishers of the world. Millbank Books, Bishop's Stortford, U.K.

Seitre, R.; Seitre, J. 1991. Causes de disparition des oiseaux terrestres de Polynésie Française. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Nouméa.

SPREP. 1999. Proceedings of the Polynesian Avifauna Conservation Workshop held in Rarotonga, 26-30 April 1999.

Thibault, J. -C. 1988. Menaces et conservation des oiseaux de Polynésie Française. In: Thibault, J.-C.; Guyot, I. (ed.), Livre rouge des oiseaux menacés des régions françaises d'outre-mer, pp. 87-124. Conseil International pour la Protection des Oiseaux, Saint-Cloud.

Withers A. Ghestemme. T and Autai T. 2012. Meet the Last Population of Marquesan Kingfisher in French Polynesia. Unpublished report. Conservation Leadership Programme/SOP/Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand.

WWF/IUCN. 1994-1995. Centres of plant diversity: a guide and strategy for their conservation. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A. & Ashpole, J

Ghestemme, T., Gouni, A., Raust, P. & Thibault, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Todiramphus godeffroyi. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
Species name author (Finsch, 1877)
Population size 260-320 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 71 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species