email a friend
printable version
Kofiau Paradise-kingfisher Tanysiptera ellioti
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has been downlisted from Endangered because of new information on its tolerance of habitat modification that suggests its population is stable. It is listed as Vulnerable, because its population is nevertheless thought to be very small.

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.

Distribution and population
Tanysiptera ellioti is endemic to the 144-km2 island of Kofiau in the West Papuan islands of Indonesia, where it is abundant in primary and secondary forest (Diamond et al. 2009). The population is suspected to be stable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
Although forest habitats on Kofiau are experiencing limited clearance and degradation through slash-and-burn agriculture and selective logging, this species persists in traditional gardens, secondary forest and selectively logged forest (Diamond et al. 2009; K. D. Bishop in litt. 2013), indicating some tolerance of habitat modification. Furthermore, a visit to the island in December 2011 found no evidence of large-scale development, increased clearance or habitat conversion (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). On this basis the species is suspected to be stable.

Previous research suggested it can inhabit "most" habitats in the lowlands, including primary forest and tall secondary forest (Beehler et al. 1986, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). Further surveys suggest that it is most abundant in primary and secondary forest, although it can be found persisting in traditional gardens (Diamond et al. 2009). A visit to north-western Kofiau in 2012 found the species to be common in lightly wooded village gardens, secondary forest, selectively logged forest and tall primary forest (K. D. Bishop in litt. 2013). There is also circumstantial evidence that immature individuals may only occur in tall, closed-canopy forests (Diamond et al. 2009). Individuals perch at 1-12 m and are not thought to venture up into the canopy (Diamond et al. 2009).

Kofiau has been largely selectively logged (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, 2000), and has no protected area (Sujatnika et al. 1995). New subsistence gardens and cash-crop coconut groves continue to encroach on primary and secondary forest; agricultural clearings increasing by an estimated 30% between 2002 and 2007 (Diamond et al. 2009). Small-scale timber extraction is also continuing (Diamond et al. 2009). Despite these on-going threatening processes, a visit to the island in December 2011 noted an abundance of standing forest and no evidence of large-scale development, increased clearance or conversion of habitat (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). As an endemic of a low-lying island, it may be at risk from sea-level rise associated with projected climate change.

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out a major survey of Kofiau to assess the current population size. Establish a monitoring programme to assess population trends. Establish a protected area on the island to ensure the on-going presence of primary forest. Clarify the species's ecological preferences and tolerance of habitat degradation. Clarify the species's taxonomic status.

Beehler, B. M.; Pratt, T. K.; Zimmerman, D. A. 1986. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Diamond, J., Mauro, I., Bishop, K.D. and Wijaya, L. 2009. The avifauna of Kofiau Island, Indonesia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 129(3): 165-181.

Sujatnika; Jepson, P.; Soehartono, T. R.; Crosby, M. J.; Mardiastuti, A. 1995. Conserving Indonesian biodiversity: the Endemic Bird Area approach. BirdLife International Indonesia Programme, Bogor.

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)

Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

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
Calvert, R., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Beehler, B. & Bishop, K.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tanysiptera ellioti. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Kofiau paradise-kingfisher (Tanysiptera ellioti) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
Species name author Sharpe, 1970
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 144 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species