Kingfisher, Kōtare

Todiramphus sanctus
Bird Songs
Kingfisher call


New Zealand status: Native

Conservation status: Not Threatened

The Sacred Kingfisher/Kōtare is a distinctive bird with a green-blue back, buff to yellow undersides and a large black bill. It has a broad black eye-stripe from lores to ear-coverts, and a white collar in adults. The underparts vary with wear; orange buff to buff when fresh but fading to cream or white when worn. The bill is black with a narrow pale strip on the lower mandible and the iris is dark brown with a black orbital ring. Kingfishers have a wide range of unmusical calls, the most distinctive of which is the staccato ‘kek-kek-kek’ territorial call.

Sacred Kingfishers are occasionally seen in Dunedin City, although they are more common on the Otago Peninsula.

Find out more about kingfishers/kōtare

Adult Sacred Kingfisher. Credit: Oscar Thomas.