Wild Birds

Shovel-billed Kingfishers

Shovel-billed Kingfishers (Clytoceyx rex)

The Shovel-billed Kookaburra (Clytoceyx rex), also known as the Shovel-billed Kingfishers, is the sole representative of the genus Clytoceyx.


Distribution / Range

The Shovel-billed Kookaburra is endemic to New Guinea. It primarily occurs in hill forests but has been recorded from sea level up to an altitude of 2400 m (7850 ft).



 Shovel-billed Kingfishers is a large, approximately 33 cm (13 in) long, dark brown tree kingfisher with a heavy, short, and broad bill that is unique among the kingfishers.

It has a dark head with a rufous stripe behind the eye, a white throat, a rufous neck collar and underparts, a bright blue rump, a brown iris, a brownish-black bill with a paler mandible (the entire bill often appears brownish due to earth), and a pale feet. Both sexes are similar in appearance but are easily recognized by the color of the tail. The male has a dark bluish tail while the female’s is rufous. The juvenile has a female-like plumage with scale-patterned feathers.


Diet / Feeding

It finds its food in mud or on moist ground. The diet consists mainly of earthworms, snails, beetles, lizards, and insects. It is inconspicuous and infrequently seen. It is likely partially nocturnal (active during the night).



Widespread but uncommon throughout a large part of New Guinea, the Shovel-billed Kookaburra is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.



  • BirdLife International (2004). Clytoceyx rex. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2006. Retrieved on 13 January 2007. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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