Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A worldwide community photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Sacred Kingfisher (juvenile)

Todiramphus sanctus


This little bird is lucky to be alive - it collided with a glass door. At first I thought it was a young Butcherbird, but upon closer inspection I could see it was something totally different. This happens to be my first encounter with a Sacred Kingfisher. A medium-sized kingfisher, it has a turquoise back, turquoise blue rump and tail, buff-white underparts, a broad cream collar, and a broad black eye stripe that extends from the beak to the nape of the neck. Both sexes are similar, although the female is generally lighter with duller upper parts. Juvenile birds are similar to the female, but have varying amounts of rusty-brown edging to feathers on the collar and underparts, and buff edges on the wing coverts. This spotting is definitely a young bird.


Spotted at the Metroplex on Gateway estate, Murarrie, Brisbane. The Metroplex wetlands are only a stone's throw from this location, and I think that's the area this species would frequent. Natural habitat includes woodlands, mangroves and paperbark forests, tall open eucalypt forests, and melaleuca forests (which are usually near wetlands, and there are plenty of melaleuca's at Metroplex). Apparently these birds are common in suburban areas (could have fooled me), but won't be found in rainforests or treeless areas.


Even though this little guy was stunned, he still had some strength in him. As I picked him up, he clamped onto my finger, arched his back, and extended his wings, although there was no struggling. I had no choice but to move him as he was on a busy walkway. The weather was filthy with high winds and heavy rainfall, so I found a nice dry area in the garden so he could recover at his own pace. My workmates were also very concerned and promised to keep an eye on him, and call the local vet if need be. PS: He could also be a she, but even though it's a young bird with the rusty-brown edging, its turquoise feathers were anything but dull which makes me think this spotting is male. Only time will tell. PPS: Monday 04 May - Found out today this little one made a full recovery and flew off shortly after I left on Friday. Phewww!

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

He wasn't where I left him on Friday. I'm sure my friends were keep a watchful eye on him, just in case.

Poor dear... what a beautiful bird. Hope he recovers.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

Absolutely, Mark. I think this fellow was trying to escape the bad weather. I won't know until Monday how he/she fared. Fingers crossed.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 8 years ago

Glass doors are disastrous for birds. We had to put stickers on ours. Great opportunity to see the little guy though.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 8 years ago

Thanks, Chris. I guess we can only do what we can.

Christiane 8 years ago

Great spotting.. Thanks for saving this little guy.. :)

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Spotted on May 1, 2015
Submitted on May 1, 2015

Related Spottings

Collared Kingfisher Collared kingfisher Collared Kingfisher Sacred Kingfisher

Nearby Spottings

Sacred Kingfisher (male) Emerald Moth Lily Caterpillar Moth Tessellated Stick Insect (male)
Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team