US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in J. Field Ornithol. (2006) 77(2):229–232. DOI: 10.1111/j.1557-9263.2006.00045.x


Conservation-oriented studies of Micronesian Kingfishers (Todiramphus cinnamominus) have been hindered by a lack of basic natural history information, despite the status of the Guam subspecies (T. c. cinnamominus) as one of the most endangered species in the world. We used tissue samples and morphometric measures from museum specimens and wild-captured Pohnpei Micronesian Kingfishers (T. c. reichenbachii) to develop methods for sex determination. We present a modified molecular protocol and a discriminant function that yields the probability that a particular individual is male or female. Our results revealed that females were significantly larger than males, and the discriminant function correctly predicted sex in 73% (30/41) of the individuals. The sex of 86% (18/21) of individuals was correctly assigned when a moderate reliability threshold was set. Sex determination using molecular genetic techniques was more reliable than methods based on morphology. Our results will facilitate recovery efforts for the critically endangered Guam Micronesian Kingfisher and provide a basis for sex determination in the 11 other endangered congeners in the Pacific Basin.