US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in The Auk (2007) 124(2):381–395.


We investigated territoriality, prospecting, and dispersal behavior in cooperatively breeding Pohnpei Micronesian Kingfishers (Todiramphus cinnamominus reichenbachii) throughout the annual cycle using radiotelemetry and color-band resights. Mean home-range size was 6.3 ha and territories were 8.1 ha. Within territories, Micronesian Kingfishers shared 63% of their home-range space with coterritorial occupants, and 3% was shared with extraterritorial conspecifics. Birds on cooperative territories had larger home ranges that overlapped more with coterritory occupants’ home ranges than birds in pair-held territories. Despite evidence suggesting that resources necessary for survival and reproduction occurred on each territory, Micronesian Kingfishers of all age and sex classes made extraterritorial prospecting movements. Prospecting was rare; it comprised only 4.3% of our observations. When birds departed on forays, they were gone for ∼1.9 h and returned to home territories before sunset. Prospecting by dominant birds was temporally correlated with courtship and nest initiation, and birds were observed at neighboring nest sites with opposite-sex conspecifics during the period when females were available for fertilization. Juveniles and helpers prospected throughout the year and made repeated homesteading movements to dispersal destinations before dispersing. Mean dispersal distance for radiomarked individuals was 849 m. Results suggest that prospecting in Micronesian Kingfishers is a complex behavior that provides information for dispersal decisions and familiarity with dispersal destinations. Additionally, extraterritorial movements may provide covert opportunities for reproduction, which have potential to profoundly influence the distribution of fitness among helper and dominant Micronesian Kingfishers.