Sacred Kingfisher

The sacred kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) is a medium-sized woodland kingfisher that occurs in mangroves, woodlands, forests, and river valleys in Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the western Pacific.

In New Zealand the species is also known by its Māori name kōtare. It is called “sacred” for it was said to be a holy bird for Polynesians, who believed it to have control over the waves.

Likewise, the local subspecies of collared kingfisher and other kingfishers in the southwestern Pacific were ascribed venerable power over the ocean.



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