Historical information

The Azure Kingfisher can be located throughout northern and eastern Australia. It can also been found in parts of Indonesia, New Guinea and surrounding islands. This species frequents the Kimberley region in Western Australia and and the Top End of Queensland. In Victoria, it resides inland near the Murray-Darling Basin. These birds prefer to make their homes near bodies of water such as creeks and rivers. They live in areas with shady vegetation. This particular species of Kingfisher are known for their bright and contrasting colouring and tiny stature. They are the smallest Kingfisher found in Australia. These birds feed on yabbies and small fish.

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.


This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Physical description

The Azure Kingfisher is stylized perched upon a wooden stand and has a paper identification tag attached to one of its legs. This bird has a combination of blue, yellow/orange and black plumage. The orange colour is located upon its chest while the royal blue is upon the rear of the bird on its back and head. The blue has faded in places due to age. The specimen is a diminutive bird species with a wide torso and a long and slender black bill. It has a short tail and two glass black eyes. The feet are a pale cream colour.

Inscriptions & markings

11a. /
Azure Kingfisher
See Catalogue, page 9. /