Fr: Martin-pêcheur multicolore         
All: Rostfischer
Esp: Martín Pigmeo de Célebes
Ita: Martin pescatore pigmeo di Sulawesi
Nd: Sulawesidwergijsvogel
Sd: Sulawesikungsfiskare


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Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher
Ceyx fallax

Coraciiformes Order – Alcedinidae Family

The kingfishers of the genus Ceyx are primarily insect-eaters and are mainly found in forest, even far from water. They usually have flattened bill. The Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher shows peculiar morphological feature: it has four toes. The foot has a vestigial inner toe without nail and formed only by a single bone.
This species is endemic to Indonesia, SE Asia.
The genus Ceyx is the Old World genus of the river kingfishers of the subfamily Alcedininae.  

Length: 12 cm

The adult has dark rufous-brown mantle, scapulars and wing-coverts. Lower back, rump and uppertail-coverts are bright blue. Flight-feathers and rectrices are black.
On the underparts, chin and throat are whitish. The breast is dark orange, but belly and flanks are paler.
On the head, forehead and crown are black with blue-tipped feathers. The face is dark orange with lilac tinge on the cheeks. There is a white spot on the neck, on each side of the head near the nape.
The flattened bill is red. The short legs and the four-toed feet are red too. The eyes are dark brown.
Both sexes are similar.

The juvenile is duller with darker plumage. The underparts are more rufous. On the head, it lacks the lilac wash on the cheeks. The bill is black with pale tip.

There are two subspecies:
C.f. fallax (here described and displayed) is found in Sulawesi and offshore Lembeh Island.
C.f. sangirensis occurs on both Sangihe and Talaud Islands. This one is larger than nominate, with more violaceous rump and broader blue tips to crown feathers.

The Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher is a forest species. It frequents lowland and hill forests, and can be found in logged and tall secondary growths. This species is visible from sea-level up to 1000 metres of elevation, but more often below 600 metres. It can live far from water.

The Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher utters thin, high-pitched squeak “seee” repeated several times.
The forest kingfishers are usually more vocal than other species.

Like most woodland and forest kingfishers, the Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher feeds primarily on invertebrates such as insects, and mainly grasshoppers, but many other insect species are taken too.
It also catches terrestrial vertebrates in the vegetation, such as small lizards of 10-11 centimetres in length. The preys are swallowed head first.
It hunts from low perch, waiting quietly for long periods down in the forest. It may occasionally bob the head. It forages during the day.

The Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher probably roosts in tree or shrub within its territory like most Alcidinidae, but usually on higher branch than its hunting perches.
This species is territorial and defends strongly this area. Short aggressive encounters can occur, with intense threat displays and flying attacks.

Defence and breeding behaviour of this species are poorly known.
Courtship behaviour probably involves ritualized postures, in order to enhance the white throat and neck spots of the male. Wing-flicking, cocked tail and aerial displays accompanied by calls, and courtship feeding from male to female constitute these displays. They are monogamous.

The Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher is presumably sedentary in its range.  It performs fast, direct flight.

The laying occurs in November in Sulawesi.
The pair excavates a tunnel or burrow in earth bank, usually away from water.
The female lays 2-3 white eggs on the bare surface of the tunnel. Both sexes incubate but the period is unknown, ranging between 17 and 27 days. The chicks hatch naked and blind. The adults feed them and the juveniles fledge 22-37 days after hatching.

The Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher has restricted range and its populations are threatened by destruction of the lowland forest and degradation of the habitat throughout the range, for agriculture expansion.
This species is currently considered Near Threatened.