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.
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.
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