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Acropternis,Acryllium , Actenoides. Birds of the world . A-Z of Bird genera part 6

Updated on October 24, 2015

Acropternis orthonyx



In this series, we review the species that occur in the various genera. The birds that are under review come from all over the world. As an example the birds under review in this article come from South America ,Papua New Guinea,and Indonesia among other places.We commence with the genus Acropternis.

The genus Acropternis

Acropternis orthonyx ,{ header image} is the only member that occurs in this genus. Although by some authorities is divided into two sub-species. Acropternis orthonyx orthonyx, of central and eastern Andes. and A.orthonyx intuscatus, of east Ecuador and north west Peru. It is often referred to as the Ocellated Tapaculo.

The Tapaculos are a small group of Passerine {perching ] birds found mainly in South America with many of them occurring in the Andean regions. They are placed in twelve genera including the Acropternis. The species under review is the Ocellated Tapaculo ,Acropternis orthonyx, which is about eight and three quarter inches long. It is a mainly black bird with large white spots. The rump and flanks are chestnut. The forehead,face, throat and upper breast rufous. The hind claw is very long and straight. The bill is elevated at the base.

These are birds of temperate cloud and rainforests and elfin forests,often associated with Bamboo.They subsist on a diet of arthropods and plant material, which it digs up using both feet. it is a species that is more often heard than seen. It is not a species of current conservation concern.

Acryllium vulturinum

Image taken at the Tsavo east national Park Kenya.
Image taken at the Tsavo east national Park Kenya. | Source

The genus Acryllium

The genus Acryllium is another genus that contains just one member. The Vulturine Guinea fowl. Acryllium vulturinum, is the largest living species of Guinea fowl,it is a resident breeder of north east Africa.

It is a large bird seventy eight and half inches long. They have a rotund body and a small head. The wings, neck, legs and tail are longer than those of any Guinea fowl. The adult has a blue bare face,the neck is black. The head and neck are bare and give the bird the appearance of a vulture,hence the common name. The breast is blue the rest of the body plumage black finely spangled with white. The sexes are similar.

Outside the breeding season they may be encountered in flocks. They feed on seeds and small invertebrates. being such a large bird it has terrestrial habits, and prefers to run rather than fly from danger. It breeds in dry-open habitats with scattered with bushes and trees. However, they tend to keep to cover and roost in trees.

The nest is well hidden and consists merely of a scrape lined with grass in which the female will deposit four to eight cream coloured eggs. It is not a species of conservation concern.

To read more about Guinea fowls visit ny series on Bird Orders, Galliformes,part three. { }.

Male Green-backed Kingfisher.

Image taken at Tangkoko , North Sulawesi.
Image taken at Tangkoko , North Sulawesi. | Source

The genus Actenoides

The genus Actenoides is a genus of birds of the Alcedinidae family {The Kingfishers}, and includes about nine species. We commence with the Moustached Kingfisher, Actenoides bougainvillei. This is a species endemic to the Bougainville Island of Papua New Guinea. Sadly it is an endangered species with only an estimated population of between 250-1000 mature individuals remaining.

It is a bird of sub tropical or tropical ,moist ,lowland forests or similar montane forests,where they are threatened by habitat loss and by introduced predators. This large Kingfisher has an orange rufous or tawny orange head, mantle,and under parts. The back scapular and tertial feathers are purple-blue. The eye stripe is purple blue,they meet across the nape. The moustache from which it takes its common name is also of a purplish blue colour, as are the wings and tail. The rump is a pale blue colour. The bill is a red/orange colour as are the legs and feet.

There are two subspecies that are accepted Actenoides bougainvillei bougainvillei,on Bougainville papua New Guinea, and Actenoides bougainvillei excelus on Guadalcanal { Solomon Islands}

The diet is said to include stick insects and frogs. There is no detailed information but they are believed to nest in holes in riverbanks, in the ground or in arboreal ant nests.

Rufous collared kingfisher. Female

Taken in Thailand.
Taken in Thailand. | Source

Black-headed and Rufous collared Kingfishers.

The black headed kingfisher Acentoides capucinus is endemic to the eastern and southern regions of Sulawesi in Indonesia. It was until recently classed as a sub-species of the Green backed kingfisher,and found under the scientific name of Adentoides monachus capucinus. It is another species threatened by habitat loss by deforestation and currently classed as being Near Threatened.

The Rufous collared kingfisher Adentodies concretus, is a species found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. This species has a green crown,and a rufous collar. The bill has the upper mandible black and the lower one yellow. The under parts are a rufous colour. The wings are purple blue the rump is pale blue. The upper tail purple blue the under tail vent white. There is a dark stripe beneath the crown around the neck from each eye. There is another black line on the sides of the chin reaching the base of the lower mandible.

The female has a green back with buff spots. There are three sub-species recognized. Actenoides concretus concretus, , Actenoides concretus peristephes, { Myanmar and Thailand},and Actenoides concretus boreanus { Borneo}.

They are birds that favour freshwater streams in broad-leaved, evergreen, tropical, lowland forests and forest edge of deep jungle. They feed on a diet that includes fish, lizards, scorpions, snakes and snails.

Illustration of Hombron's kingfisher

John Gould's Birds of Asia.
John Gould's Birds of Asia. | Source

Hombron's King fisher

Hombron's Kingfisher , Actenoides hombroni, sometimes referred to as the Blue-headed kingfisher is species endemic to the Philippines where its natural habitats are the sub-tropical and tropical ,moist, lowland forests and similar montane forests.

The male is about ten and a half inches long and has a bright blue cap and moustache,rufous orange cheeks and under parts,the throat is off white. The upper parts are blue green. with small buff spots on scapulars and wing coverts. The rump is bright blue as is the tail. The bill is bright red. The female has the blue of the cap duller as is the moustache. The upper parts are green,with large buff spots.

Despite these brilliant colours the birds are not easy to see and are often overlooked. Although it has the name and the looks of a typical kingfisher, this species only occasionally catches fish,instead it hunts and eats Grasshoppers and Locusts,Beetles and their larvae,snails,frogs and small reptiles.

The breeding season hits its peak of activity between March and May. Further information on the biology of this species is still required to help conservation plans for this species which is classed as being vulnerable.

Spotted Wood Kingfisher. Male

Taken at La Mesa Eco Park Quezon City, Philippines.
Taken at La Mesa Eco Park Quezon City, Philippines. | Source

Spotted Wood Kingfisher

Actenoides lindsayi, is the Spotted Wood Kingfisher, another species endemic to the Philippines and another species that frequents the sub tropical and tropical, moist ,lowland forests. This bird is about ten and a quarter inches long and is unmistakeable in its range. The only similar species is the previous Blue capped that only occurs in Mindanao. The male of this species has a clear green cap,which can appear brownish in certain light. They have a pale black mark from the nape to the eye and a black eye stripe.

The female has a green stripe above the eye and moustache,the eye stripe is black. There are also two sub species recognized Actenoides linsayi lindsayi,that occurs in the northern Philippines and Actenoides lindsayi moseleyi, that occurs in the central Philippines.

It is said to only call pre-dawn or at first light when they tend to be noisy. They feed on insects and other small invertebrates,low down in the forests. They are thought to breed in excavated holes in an arboreal Termite nest.Their are no current conservation concerns over this species.

Scaly breasted Kingfisher.

Taken at North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Taken at North Sulawesi, Indonesia. | Source

Scaly Breasted Kingfisher

Actenoides princeps, is the Scaly breasted kingfisher, a species endemic to the central and south western Sulawesi in Indonesia, where it frequents the tropical and sub tropical moist montane forests.

This species is about nine inches long. The head is blue and there is a reddish brown collar. The chin and throat are white. The back is dark brown,marked with a light buff colour. The female has a buff coloured forehead. The under parts are a whitish buff in the male and barred with a darker colour in the females Birds in the north west tend to have red bills. Southern birds have orange and brown bills.

There are also two sub species that have been recognized. Actenoides princeps princeps,in north east Sulawesi and Actenoides priniceps erthrorhanphus ,from the north west and central parts. Another Actenoides princieps regalis is found in the South east but is now regarded as a separate species in its own right,

Actenoides monachus monachus

Tangkoko Nature Reserve North Sulawesi
Tangkoko Nature Reserve North Sulawesi | Source

The Green backed Kingfisher

The Green backed kingfisher, Actenoides monacus, is a species that has a blue head,the iris is brown, The beak is red. They have green upper parts and wings. The throat is white, the tail is a green blue colour. They have a rufous collar and under parts. The legs and feet are orangey red. The female is similar but the ear coverts and cheeks a dark reddish brown, the forehead and supercilium orangey red.

This species is endemic to Indonesia , Sulawesi and the adjacent Manadotua and Lambeth Islands. It frequents the tropical dense lowland forests up to nine hundred metres above sea level.

The diet of this bird includes large centipedes,beetles and other invertebrates. They tend to perch silently in the under story or mid story sections of the forests,generally close to the trunks of trees or fallen trees, then diving into the leaf litter.

It is thought that they breed early in the year with eggs being recorded from early February. They have been known to tunnel into excavated termites nests where the female deposits her eggs in a terminal chamber about nine inches to a foot from the entrance.

There are two recognized sub species Actenoides monachus monachus, occurs in northern and central Sulawesi, Monadotua and Lambeth islands. Actenoides monachus capucinus, is the other,however, this is now regarded as a separate species by most authorities, in its own right. { See Black headed Kingfisher above}

Green backed Kingfisher Actenoides monachus

Tangkoko Nature reserve , North Sulawesi.
Tangkoko Nature reserve , North Sulawesi. | Source


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    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hello Devika, glad you enjoy and your visit is always appreciated. Best wishes to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi D.A.L. An excellent write up here. I enjoy reading your work. I have learned lots from you.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Lancashire north west England


      Hi Deb, you are welcome, Like you I am fascinated with the plethora of bird species and this series is taking me all over the world, to appreciate the beauty of species we may never have been fully acquainted with. Best wishes to you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      These are all incredibly beautiful birds. Birds of the tropics are so colorful, but they tend too migrate so much further than many others. Thanks for introducing me to these beauties.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Lancashire north west England


      Hi Sally you are very kind and encouraging, thank you. Best wishes to you.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      3 years ago from Norfolk

      Another gorgeous hub Dave with some excellent info. I love some of the images, especially the Green-Backed Kingfisher. The photographer has done a wonderful job. Amazing how shiny that single eye is and such a beautiful diffused background. You have produced yet another beauty, very well done.



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