Australian Bush Birds
Red-backed Kingfisher  -  Todiramphus pyrrhopygia
Red-backed Kingfisher at Thargomindah in southwest Queensland.
map map The Red-backed Kingfisher - Todiramphus pyrrhopygia - has an olive-green head streaked white; broad black stripe from eye to nape. White collar; under parts are white. Bill is black with a pale lower base. Dull green back and wings with blue-green tail. Lower back, rump and upper tail are brown-red. Females have a darker, more heavily streaked crown. Collar and flanks are tinged buff. Size 20 to 24 centimetres. Juveniles are more buff in colour with dark, mottled breast.

Lives in drier regions, in semi-arid woodlands, mulga and mallee, spinifex and almost treeless country. Sometimes far from water. Found over most of Australia.

Hunts from open perches; drops to the ground to take small reptiles or occasional small (mouse-size) mammals or large insects.

Moderately common, nomadic and migratory.

Red-backed Kingfisher perched on a television aerial at Thargomindah in southwest Queensland. Note the edge of the under tail red-orange patch just visible on the left.
Red-backed Kingfisher - page 2
Red-backed Kingfisher Red-backed Kingfisher head
Left. The white streaked head from the front. The shape of the head is, not surprisingly, reminiscent of the kookaburra. Right. The powerful bill is black on top, the lower mandible is half pink.