The white-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) also known as the white-breasted kingfisher is a tree kingfisher, widely distributed in Asia from the Sinai east through the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines. This kingfisher is a resident over much of its range, although some populations may make short distance movements. It can often be found well away from water where it feeds on a wide range of prey that includes small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents and even birds. During the breeding season they call loudly in the mornings from prominent perches including the tops of buildings in urban areas or on wires.
The white-throated kingfisher is one of the many birds that were first formally described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae. He coined the binomial name Alcedo smyrnensis. Linnaeus cites Eleazar Albin's Natural History of Birds published in 1738 which includes a description and a plate of the "Smirna Kingfisher". The present genus Halcyon was introduced by the English naturalist and artist William John Swainson in 1821. Halcyon is a name for a bird in Greek mythology generally associated with the kingfisher. The specific epithet smyrnensis is an adjective for the town of Izmir in Turkey.
The race H. s. gularis is sometimes considered as a separate species. Support for this treatment was provided by a molecular study published in 2017 that found that H. s. gularis was more closely related to the Javan kingfisher (H. cyanoventris) than it was to the white-throated kingfisher. The races H. s. perpulchra and H. s. fokiensis are sometimes included in H. s. fusca.
Local names include Baluchistan: aspi chidok; Sindhi: dalel; Hindi: kilkila, kourilla; Himachal Pradesh: neela machhrala; Punjabi: wadda machhera; Bengali: sandabuk machhranga; Assamese: masroka; Cachar: dao natu gophu; Gujarati: kalkaliyo, safedchati kalkaliyo; Marathi: khundya; Tamil: vichuli; Telugu: lakmuka, buchegadu; Malayalam: ponman; Kannada: rajamatsi; Sinhalese: pilihuduwa.
This is a large kingfisher, 27–28 cm (10.6–11.0 in) in length. The adult has a bright blue back, wings and tail. Its head, shoulders, flanks and lower belly are chestnut, and the throat and breast are white. The large bill and legs are bright red. The flight of the white-throated kingfisher is rapid and direct, the short rounded wings whirring. In flight, large white patches are visible on the blue and black wings. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.
This species forms a superspecies with Halcyon cyanoventris and most major works recognize four geographic races. They vary clinally in size, the shades of blue on the mantle which is more greenish in smyrnensis and fusca and more blue or purplish in saturatior. H. s. gularis of the Philippines has only the neck and throat white. It is sometimes treated as a distinct species, H. gularis. Race fusca is found in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka and is slightly smaller, bluer and with a darker brown underside than the nominate race found in northwestern India. Race saturatior is found in the Andaman Islands and is larger with darker brown underparts. Race perpulchra (not always recognized) is found in northeastern India and is smaller than fusca with paler underparts. Albinism has been noted on occasion.
The English of white-throated was introduced since the range is large and geographic adjectives would make the name too restrictive, while the older name of white-breasted would not describe the eastern race which has only the throat white.
The call of this kingfisher is a chuckling chake-ake-ake-ake-ake. They are particularly noisy in the breeding season.
White-throated kingfisher is a common species of a variety of habitats, mostly open country in the plains (but has been seen at 7500 ft in the Himalayas) with trees, wires or other perches. The range of the species is expanding.
It perches conspicuously on wires or other exposed perches within its territory, and is a frequent sight in south Asia. This species mainly hunts large crustaceans, insects, earthworms, rodents, snakes, fish and frogs. Predation of small birds such as the Indian white-eye, chick of a red-wattled lapwing, sparrows and munias have been reported. The young are fed mostly on invertebrates. In captivity, it has been noted that it rarely drinks water although bathing regularly.
The white-throated kingfisher begins breeding at the onset of the Monsoons. Males perch on prominent high posts in their territory and call in the early morning. The tail may be flicked now and in its courtship display the wings are stiffly flicked open for a second or two exposing the white wing mirrors. They also raise their bill high and display the white throat and front. The female in invitation makes a rapid and prolonged kit-kit-kit... call. The nest is a tunnel (50 cm long, but a nest with a 3-foot tunnel has been noted) in an earth bank. The nest building begins with both birds flying into a suitable mud wall until an indentation is made where they can find a perch hold. They subsequently perch and continue digging the nest with their bills. Nest tunnels in a haystack have also been recorded. A single clutch of 4-7 round white eggs is typical. The eggs take 20–22 days to hatch while the chicks fledge in 19 days.
Birds have sometimes been seen attracted to lights at night, especially during the monsoon season, suggesting that they are partly migratory.
With a powerful bill and rapid flight, these kingfishers have few predators when healthy and rare cases of predation by a black kite and a jungle crow may be of sick or injured birds. An individual found dead with its beak embedded into the wood of a tree has been suggested as an accident during rapid pursuit of prey, possibly an Indian white-eye. A few parasites have been noted.
The flat-billed kingfisher (Todiramphus recurvirostris) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is endemic to Samoa.Halasal
Halasal is a village in Belgaum district in the southern state of Karnataka.
Halasal is a natural habitat for wildlife, including tigers, leopards, black panthers, elephants, gaur, deer, antelopes, and bears. Birds include the Indian spot-billed duck, pond heron, little egret, white-throated kingfisher, red-wattled lapwing, black-winged stilt, grey heron, eagle, bulbul, and wagtail. Some people visit Halasal to take part in jungle safaris.
Antarali Dagad or the "magic stone", a large stone resting on a small area, is a well-known tourist spot and popular for picnics.Halcyon (genus)
Halcyon () is a genus of the tree kingfishers, near passerine birds in the subfamily Halcyoninae.Islet kingfisher
The islet kingfisher (Todiramphus colonus) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae.Kofiau paradise kingfisher
The Kofiau paradise kingfisher (Tanysiptera ellioti) is a tree kingfisher endemic to the Indonesian island Kofiau. This little-known bird is sometimes considered a subspecies of the common paradise kingfisher (T. galatea), but it is morphologically distinct and del Hoyo lists it as a separate species.Lahugala Kitulana National Park
Lahugala Kitulana National Park (Sinhala: ලාහුගල-කිතුලාන ජාතික වනෝද්යානය) is one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka. Despite its land area, the park is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephant and endemic birds of Sri Lanka. The national park contains the reservoirs of Lahugala, Kitulana and Sengamuwa and they are ultimately empties to Heda Oya river. Originally it was designated as a wildlife sanctuary on July 1 of 1966. Then the protected area was upgraded to a national park on October 31 of 1980. Lahugala Kitulana is situated 318 km east of Colombo.Lazuli kingfisher
The lazuli kingfisher (Todiramphus lazuli) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It gets its name due to its colour being reminiscent of Lapis Lazuli.List of birds of Islamabad
This is a list of birds found in Islamabad, Pakistan. Seventy-two species of birds have been found in this area. The best places to watch are Margalla Hills and Rawal Lake.
Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
Little cormorant, Microcarbo niger
Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
Indian pond heron (Paddybird), Ardeola grayii
Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
Little egret, Egretta garzetta
Intermediate egret, Egretta intermedia
Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
Common teal, Anas crecca
Black kite, Milvus migrans
Shikra, Accipiter badius
Long-legged buzzard, Buteo rufinus
Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
Grey francolin, Francolinus pondicerianus
Common quail, Coturnix coturnix
Brown waterhen, Amaurornis akool
White-breasted waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus
Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian coot, Fulica atra
Red-wattled lapwing, Hoplopterus indicus
Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
Black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus
Feral pigeon, Columba livia
Wood pigeon, Columba palumbus
Collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto
Palm dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
Spotted dove, Spilopelia chinensis
Rose-ringed parakeet, Psittacula krameri
Common koel, Eudynamys scolopacea
Greater coucal, Centropus sinensis
House swift, Apus affinis
White-throated kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis
Pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis
Hoopoe, Upupa epops
Lesser golden-backed woodpecker, Dinopium benghalense
Brown-fronted woodpecker, Dendrocopos auriceps
Crested lark, Galerida cristata
Small skylark, Alauda gulgula
Brown-throated sand martin, Riparia paludicola
Pale sand martin, Riparia diluta
Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped swallow, Hirundo daurica
Paddyfield pipit, Anthus rufulus
Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
White wagtail, Motacilla alba
Large pied wagtail, Motacilla maderaspatensis
Himalayan bulbul, Pycnonotus leucogenys
Red-vented bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer
Dark-grey bushchat, Saxicola ferrea
Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius
Blue whistling thrush, Myophonus caeruleus
Fan-tailed warbler, Cisticola juncidis
Tawny prinia, Prinia inornata
Yellow-bellied prinia, Prinia flaviventris
Hume's leaf warbler, Phylloscopus humei
White-throated fantail, Rhipidura albicollis
Black-chinned babbler, Stachyris pyrrhops
Common babbler, Turdoides caudatus
Jungle babbler, Turdoides striatus
Great tit, Parus major
Bar-tailed treecreeper, Certhia himalayana
Oriental white-eye, Zosterops palpebrosus
Rufous-backed shrike, Lanius schach
Black drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus
House crow, Corvus splendens
Brahminy starling, Sturnus pagodarum
Common myna, Acridotheres tristis
Bank myna, Acridotheres ginginianus
House sparrow, Passer domesticus
Alexandrine parakeet, Psittacula eupatria
Green bee-eater, Merops orientalis
Rufous treepie, Dendrocitta vagabunda
Indian robin, Saxicoloides fulicatusMariana kingfisher
The Mariana kingfisher (Todiramphus albicilla) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is endemic to the Northern Mariana Islands. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and plantations. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the collared kingfisher.Melanesian kingfisher
The Melanesian kingfisher (Todiramphus tristrami) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is endemic to the Bismarck Archipelago and the northwest and central Solomon Islands. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and plantations. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the collared kingfisher.Mountain kingfisher
The mountain kingfisher (Syma megarhyncha) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae.
It is found in the New Guinea Highlands.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.Ruddy kingfisher
The ruddy kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda) is a medium-sized tree kingfisher, widely distributed in east and southeast Asia.Sri Lanka tree crab
The Sri Lanka tree crab, (Perbrinckia scansor), is a species of freshwater crabs of the family Gecarcinucidae that is endemic to Sri Lanka. It is the only known tree climbing freshwater crab found in the country. The crab is discovered from 11 localities from Sri Lanka throughout Kalu River, Walawe River and Gin River basins. Adult are known to survive well in rainwater-filled tree hollows of trees such as Shorea sp., Artocarpus sp., Dillenia sp., Garcinia sp., Myristica sp., and Gyrinops walla. Females with youngs can be seen during February and March on the ground, never within tree hollows. The known predators are Greater coucal, White-throated kingfisher, Sri Lanka grey hornbill and Eurasian otter.The species is categorized as least concern by IUCN, but the habitats are gradually declining. The water bodies of central hills are invaded by exotic species of fish and other aquatic flora and usage of many areas for human habitations are known to harm the animal. They are also collected illegally and used for many purposes local and overseas.Sultanpur National Park
Sultanpur National Park (Hindi: सुल्तानपुर राष्ट्रीय वन्यजीव अभयारण्य) (formerly Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary) is located at Sultanpur village on Gurugram-Jhajhar highway, 15 km from Gurugram, Haryana and 50 km from Delhi in India.Talaud kingfisher
The Talaud kingfisher (Todiramphus enigma) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae.
It is endemic to the Talaud Islands north of Sulawesi in Indonesia.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and rivers.
It is threatened by habitat loss.Torresian kingfisher
The Torresian kingfisher (Todiramphus sordidus) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae. It is found in southern New Guinea and in Australia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and plantations. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the collared kingfisher.Tree kingfisher
The tree kingfishers or wood kingfishers, subfamily Halcyoninae, are the most numerous of the three subfamilies of birds in the kingfisher family, with around 70 species divided into 12 genera, including several species of kookaburras. The subfamily appears to have arisen in Indochina and Maritime Southeast Asia and then spread to many areas around the world. Tree kingfishers are widespread through Asia and Australasia, but also appear in Africa and the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, using a range of habitats from tropical rainforest to open woodlands.
The tree kingfishers are short-tailed, large-headed, compact birds with long, pointed bills. Like other Coraciiformes, they are brightly coloured. Most are monogamous and territorial, nesting in holes in trees or termite nests. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks. Although some tree kingfishers frequent wetlands, none are specialist fish-eaters. Most species dive onto prey from a perch, mainly taking slow-moving invertebrates or small vertebrates.Ultramarine kingfisher
The ultramarine kingfisher (Todiramphus leucopygius) is a species of bird in the family Alcedinidae.Yellow-billed kingfisher
The yellow-billed kingfisher (Syma torotoro) is a medium-sized (length 20 cm, wingspan 29 cm, weight 40 g) tree kingfisher.
56 to 61 living species in 12 genera