Sunday, 28 February 2010

Pied Kingfisher

This Pied Kingfisher (aka. Lesser Pied Kingfisher) Ceryle rudis was photographed during the Kudu 2010 Sri Lanka tour at the Dutch canal at Waikkal. It tolerated our close presence in a boat, and afforded nice photo opportunities, albeit in somewhat shaky circumstances. The male shown here is easy to tell apart from the female as it has a couple of black bands across the breast.

Lesser Pied KIngfisher
Pied Kingfisher male at the Dutch canal at Waikkal - 10 Jan, 2010

In contrast, the female has just one 'breast-band', which is broken in the middle.

The Pied Kingfisher has an interesting foraging technique, whereby they catch fish by hovering over water, often quite high up; and diving after a target is acquired. In doing so, they'd also descend in stages and hover in order to precisely locate the target before the final plunge.

In addition to this peculiar foraging technique, this species would also use a perch, like the above individual, to hunt prey in a more orthodox fashion.

Interestingly, the Pied Kingfisher is capable of devouring their prey in flight without necessarily returning to a perch for fine dining. Its hover and dive foraging technique, and the aforementioned attribute enable it to hunt in large expanses of water, lacking suitable sticks/rocks to perch.

Well, here's how it forages by means of hover and dive method.

On occasions when it has the luxury of using a perch to hunt, Pied Kingfisher would return to it after catching the prey. It then often beats its prey on the perch to first kill it, and to 'tenderise' it, before devouring it. I picked up the latter culinary technicality in Vickie Henderson's blog post about Belted Kingfisher, which is a North American cousin of this species.


dev wijewardane said...

Great shot. I've still not been able to capture a decent image of one of these.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Another neat photo, given the circumstances where you took it from.

I thought kingfisher had to be blue in color. After following your blog, I know it comes in all sorts of colors.

This one is surely a rarity. Thanks for all the interesting trivia too.

rainfield61 said...

Though in black and white, it does look as charming as a White-throated Kingfisher.

Janith said...

Like K, I didn't know about Kingfishers coming in colours other than blue... Lovely and rare capture Amila! :)

Anonymous said...

I am glad I came across your blog 'cos I am a bird brain when it comes to birds! I am learning a lot about Magerata from you! Thx

Stuart Price said...

Great shot of the Kingfisher.

Vickie said...

Hey, Amila! Love that amazing image. Some day I want to come your way and see these beautiful kingfishers that sit so still for your camera!

I posted your blog post on my facebook wall. Your ears should be burning because of the comments on your beautiful image.

Love the video. What a spectacular report on the speed and precision of their dive and hovering flight. And thanks for the mention!

Kathie Brown said...

What a beautiful bird and its behavior is absolutley amazing! I can't do anything 8 times in one second!

spookydragonfly said...

Love the Kingfisher perched on the tip of the branch. On another note...likewise some dragons have been known to eat their prey in flight as well.

Your capture of the Sri Lanka White-eye in your last post is simply beautiful, Amila! As always...perfectly captured images of such a variety of interesting creatures! (took me a few tries, but well worth the visit).

Amila Suwa said...

Hi Dev,
Next time you are here, take a boat tour along the Dutch canal at Waikkal. I have got within 4m or so from this species on several occassions - a distance quite enough for 100-400mm lens that you and I use.

Hi K,
Thank you!
This bird sports unusual colours for a kingfisher, but is not rarity as far as bird watchers are concerned.

Hi rainfield,
They both are charming species, you are right.

Hi Chavie,
Thanks! Well, now you know it!
FYI, it is a species in the St Peter's College's bird list compiled by yours truly.

Hi Magerata,
Nice to know that and good to hear from you! I don't know why, but I read your name in my head as margarita!

Hi Stu,
Thank you! Glad you think so.

Hi Vickie,
Thank you! My ears aren't burning, but I have been sneezing a lot since last evening and now I know why! Over here we believe that a sneeze without an obvious cause to be a sign that someone was talking about the sneezer at that very moment!

As commented in your blog, we do not hunt wild birds in this country thanks to mainly Buddhist and Hindu influence. As a result, birds are not too shy as in other countries (mostly in SE Asia), where hunting pressures have turned them secretive and shy.

It would be great to meet you one day and go birding!

Hi Kathie,
Ha ha, I too cannot do anything at 8 times a second! Well, certainly not anything worthwhile needed to be done on a daily basis.
Thanks for dropping by!

Hi Kim,
Thanks as awalys!
You are right, some dragonflies feed on the wing too.

I found that Sri Lanka White-eye, when our vehilce was stopped at a random police checkpoint. Wayside birding in this country is quite excellent, and it is amazing how many species you can see if you stay focussed while on the move.

Thank you very much for visiting with all your slow internet connection woes!

flowergirl said...

I love the PK, and can watch its hovering acrobatics again and again, so thanks for that great video link... I shall share it as well!

I was watching the video link with my husband, who marvelled that the kingfisher's beak during hovering was as still as Sehwag's while batting!!!

Mel said...

Hola Amila!
That's a beautiful bird, and a stunning shot of it.
I haven't seen a Kingfisher (yet!) but hope to do it soon :)
Take care!

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