Thursday, January 8, 2009

Noisy Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfishers are common here in our forests or even in cities. This is one of the birds that can never fail to catch your attention. A brilliant turquoise blue with deep chocolate-brown head, neck and under parts, a long bright red ‘kingfisher-like’ bill and white front catches immediate attention. If you unable to see this bird still they make their presence known by their loud calls. They are often sighted in rural or city areas, perching on telephone wires. Its size is bigger than the Myna and both the sexes are alike and pairs can be seen near ponds, jheels, dense jungles etc. Though the other Kingfishers are closely related to water bodies this bird can be seen both near and away from water bodies.
The bird is found in plains and lower hills all over India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Four races have been identified according to color and size differentiation. It is very fond of fish, tadpoles, grasshoppers, lizards and insects. While hunting along the water, they prey on crabs, frogs and reptiles like skinks, lizards. On land, they hunt large insects and scorpions, centipedes. They beat these against their perch to kill and remove venomous stings. They even take small mammals like rats, mice and small snakes. Like pied kingfisher, white-throated kingfisher also observes its prey from the superior position and the moment it’s within reach, a flash of lightening it catches it. White-throated Kingfishers dive to catch aquatic prey; in shallow water, entering feet-first, in deeper waters, head-first. They can also hover for a short while before plunging in. They also dive into grass and vegetation to catch their prey. Their huge bills come in handy to hammer their prey to death. Like other kingfishers, the white-throated kingfisher enjoys his food again at a perched place. The nesting season is from March to July. Like other birds they do not build nest on trees and with the sticks. Whereas their nest is a horizontal tunnel like structure dug in a mud wall near the stream, where four to seven white spherical eggs are laid. Normally both the parents do the parental care.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.

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