The paradise kingfishers are a group of tree kingfishers endemic to New Guinea — with the exception of two species also present in the Moluccas and Queensland.
The genus was erected by the Irish zoologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors in 1825. The type species is the common paradise kingfisher. The name Tanysiptera is from classical Greek tanusipteros meaning "long-feathered". The birds in the genus have distinctive long tail streamers.
The centre of paradise kingfishers is New Guinea: Several species occur on this 786,000 km2 large island. In addition, there are several island endemisms that occur on islands of the Moluccas and the Louisiade Archipelago. Most paradise kingfishers are resident birds. The buff-breasted paradise kingfisher, which also occurs in the extreme northeast of Australia, moves to New Guinea in the winter half-year. The common paradise kingfisher has the biggest spread among the paradisiacis birds. It occurs in 15 subspecies on New Guinea and islands of the Moluccas and the Louisiade Archipelago. On New Guinea itself, several subspecies of the common paradise kingfisher live there. The remaining subspecies are limited in their spread to individual islands or island groups. The red-breasted paradise kingfisher and the brown-headed paradise kingfisher only occur on New Guinea. The little paradise kingfisher has its residence on the Aru Islands Regency and in the outermost south of New Guinea. It is assumed that the little paradise kingfisher comes from the common paradise kingfisher and developed on the Aru Islands Regency to an independent species. From this place it settled in New Guinea, where today the distribution area of the two species overlaps. These two species do not produce any natural hybrids. The Kofiau paradise kingfisher is also closely related to the common paradise kingfisher, which only occurs on Kofiau.