Fun Moustached Kingfisher Facts For Kids

Gurpuneet Kaur
Oct 20, 2022 By Gurpuneet Kaur
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Ponder upon some interesting and fun moustached kingfisher facts.

Several human activities like urbanization are affecting several species. The increasing human population, habitat destruction, climate change, animal trafficking, pollution, hunting, and many other activities have caused a rapid decreased in the population of birds and other creatures, downlisting their conservation status.

One such species is the moustached kingfisher, Actenoides bougainvillei, or the Bougainville moustached kingfisher. Unnecessary slaying is recorded to be the primary cause for the conservation status of species being downlisted.

It is endemic to the Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. Formerly, it was considered conspecific to Guadacanal moustached kingfisher.

In the 1920s, the specimens collected described the Guadalcanal moustached kingfisher (Actenoides bougainvillei excelsus) for the first time. Furthermore, a team from the American Museum of Natural History led by Christopher Filardi collected a male specimen. Christopher Filardi was studying the birds for more than 20 years before he succeeded in the collection of its first specimen.

The Actenoides bougainvillei bougainvillei and Actenoides bougainvillei excelsus are two subspecies of moustached kingfishers recorded according to the discovery stories and documented search reports.

While there is very little recorded about the bird in the search reports documented by scientists over the past century, there are very few specimens and sightings estimated speculating the birds being at risk of being Extinct.

If the uniqueness of the moustached kingfisher makes you interested to read more about similar species, you can read about palm cockatoo and flycatcher.

Moustached Kingfisher Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a moustached kingfisher?

The moustached kingfisher is an arboreal bird belonging to the family of kingfishers.

While the Guadalcanal moustached kingfisher and Bougainville moustached kingfisher of Papua New Guinea were considered conspecific until a team of scientific researchers from the American Museum of Natural History led by C. Filardi recently regarded them both as individual groups of subspecies but are closely related to each other.

What class of animal does a moustached kingfisher belong to?

A moustached kingfisher bird belongs to the class Aves, order Coraciiformes, family Alcedinidae, subfamily Halcyoninae, and genus Actenoides. It has two subspecies, Bougainville moustached kingfisher (A. b. excelsus) and Guadalcanal moustached kingfisher (A. b. bougainvillei).

How many moustached kingfishers are there in the world?

With limited specimens and sightings recorded in the scientific collection over the past century, the conservation status of the moustached kingfisher has been downlisted.

The population of the bird is speculated to be threatened due to unnecessary killings, habitat loss caused by the destruction of the forest, and predators. While the estimated population of moustached kingfishers found in the Guadalcanal range up to 4,000 birds, the population in Bougainville Island is estimated near between 250-1,000 birds.

Due to the rapid decrease, the conservation status of the birds is constantly being downlisted.

Where does a moustached kingfisher live?

According to the search data, moustached kingfisher range map is confined near the forest of the Solomon Islands in Papua New Guinea. It is quite rare around the world as it is endemic to the islands of Papua New Guinea.

What is a moustached kingfisher's habitat?

According to data collection of the local researchers, moustached kingfisher habitat ranges from subtropical and tropical lowland forests and hill forests at elevations of 2953- 3609 ft (900-1100 m).

Who do moustached kingfishers live with?

Since there is limited information recorded in science data about the behavior and temperament of moustached kingfishers, distinctive speculations are made by the local community. While the local community members stated that moustached kingfisher lives in pairs, there are speculations that it leads a solitary life.

How long does a moustached kingfisher live?

The search data fails to highlight the lifespan of a moustached kingfisher. On the other hand, the pink cockatoo is the first bird across the world to live for more than 80 years.

How do they reproduce?

The moustached kingfishers, often called 'ghost birds', in recent times are poorly studied species of birds. While the population of the birds is rapidly decreasing, the science of their reproduction remains a mystery.

The nest of the male and female pair is observed by the community residing around the range map of the bird. Furthermore, the bird is a cavity nester residing either in the cavities on the tree or the forest ground.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the species of birds, the moustached kingfishers, has been downlisted to Endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Moustached Kingfisher Fun Facts

What do moustached kingfishers look like?

A moustached kingfisher is an orange and blue bird. While the head is yellow-orange, its moustaches, wings, and tail are blue. Also, the free wild birds are speculated to have distinctive characteristics based on their subgroup of species, sex, and age.

Actenoides bougainvillei bougainvillei potrays sexual dimporphism. While the adult male moustached kingfisher has an orange forehead, crown, and mantle, the upper back of the females is olive green in color.

Also, the length of the tail differs between males and females. The male and female species of bird have a blue line running beyond the lower mandible of the beak to its nape, forming long moustaches. Also, the bill is red and the eyes, legs, and feet are dark brown.

Actenoides bougainvillei excelsus is quite similar to the Actenoides bougainvillei bougainvillei. On the other hand, while the immature Guadalcanal species have dar-olive green plumage, the plumage of the bougainvillei is not recorded so far.

The male and the female moustached kingfishers have distinct features.*Please note that this is an image of a rufous-collared kingfisher, not a moustached kingfisher. If you have an image of a moustached kingfisher, please let us know at

How cute are they?

The colorful moustached kingfisher is an adorable species. As it is difficult to spot the species beyond its confined location, sighting a moustached kingfisher is a pleasant sight.

Also, the bird calls before dawn and after dusk, being partially nocturnal. Imagine – when the data highlights that the photographs of species have won several hearts – how special it can be to actually spot the bird.

How do they communicate?

The moustached kingfishers communicate using vocalizations such as calls. A moustached kingfisher call is loud and its voice sounds like 'ko-ko-ko-ko-ko-ko'. Also, the calls are mostly heard in the swamplands before dawn and after dusk.

How big is a moustached kingfisher?

While the length may vary, a moustached kingfisher is as long as 10.6-12.5 in (27-32 cm), it is 10 times smaller than an ostrich and is thrice the size of a hummingbird.

How fast can a moustached kingfisher fly?

While the exact speed is not computed by the science team of researchers, a peregrine falcon is the first and only bird to fly at a speed as high as 200-242 mph (322-390 kph).

How much does a moustached kingfisher weigh?

The moustached kingfishers weigh up to 5.6-7.5 oz (160-215 g), but the weight of the species may vary depending upon their subgroup.

What are the male and female names of the species?

While the birds portray sexual dimorphism, the moustached kingfishers do not have sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby moustached kingfisher?

A baby moustached kingfisher is also called a chick, nestling, hatchling, or fledgling.

What do they eat?

While the birds are primarily carnivores, the moustached kingfisher diet mainly comprises insects and small invertebrates.

Are they dangerous?

The moustached kingfishers do not pose any danger.

Would they make a good pet?

No, a moustached kingfisher is a free bird and does not make an ideal pet. Also, the bird is speculated to be a cavity nester having its nest in cavities formed around the wildlands.

Did you know...

Like every species has a story, a moustached kingfisher also has one. Formerly in science, the Actenoides bougainvillei excelsus and Actenoides bougainvillei bougainvillei were considered the same species.

It was in the 1920s that Actenoides bougainvillei excelsus was described for the first time. Recently in 2015, a male specimen was collected by the team of researchers which differentiated the two subgroups of the species.

The kingfishers are highly predatory as they prey upon fish, crustaceans, insects, and invertebrates.

The word kingfisher comes from the phrase 'king's fisher'. Although the exact reason why kingfishers are called kingfishers is unknown, it is speculated that it could be because they were observed to be great fishers.

Are moustached kingfishers Endangered?

Yes, the moustached kingfishers are prone to extinction with their population rapidly decreasing.

How did the moustached kingfisher get its name?

The blue line running near the beak to its nape forms a moustache on the bird's face originated moustached kingfisher name.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these palm warbler facts and common swift facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Moustached kingfisher coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Gurpuneet Kaur

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gurpuneet Kaur picture

Gurpuneet KaurBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

Read full bio >