Species profile

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

Photo courtesy of Eric Sohn Joo Tan.

Range and abundance

The Yellow-billed Kingfisher is widespread throughout lowland New Guinea and the adjacent islands, extending to northern Cape York Peninsula in Australia. It occurs in rainforest, monsoon forest and adjacent forest.


The Yellow-billed Kingfisher is a medium-sized bird with distinct colouring, being the only kingfisher in Australia that is yellow. It has an orange-yellow head, white throat and a black patch on the nape. It has an olive green back grading to bluish green rump, with the same blue-green upper-wing, becoming almost black in the primary flight feathers. The underparts are pale orange-grey and the beak is orange. Males have entirely orange-yellow heads, while females have a black cap.


Yellow-billed Kingfishers are well-camouflaged and often difficult to observe in the lower levels of rainforest and mangroves. They are usually heard in the early morning and evening but may call throughout the day, particularly during the breeding season. Yellow-billed Kingfishers nest in excavated arboreal termite mounds, where the female lays 3-4 white eggs.


Habitat loss.


What is AWC doing?

AWC protects riparian gallery rainforest at Piccaninny Plains.

Did you know:

The Yellow-billed Kingfisher has a call that sounds remarkably like a postman’s whistle.