White-throated kingfisher

Halcyon smyrnensis

The White-throated Kingfisher also known as the White-breasted Kingfisher or Smyrna Kingfisher, is a tree kingfisher, widely distributed in Eurasia from Bulgaria, Turkey, West Asia 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.
White-throated Kingfisher - Male&Female Male and female courting, male brings gift to female before coupling. Halcyon smyrnensis,White-throated kingfisher

Appearance

This is a large kingfisher, 28 cm 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''.
⤷  ''smyrnensis'' is found in Turkey, Northern and Central Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, northwestern India, China, Taiwan and the Philippines, south of Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Java.
⤷  ''fusca'' is found in India, Sri Lanka, South China, Taiwan, Sumatra and West Java. Population from Burma to the Greater Sundas were treated under the name ''perpulchra'' but are now lumped into ''fusca''. South China and Taiwanese populations are sometimes treated as subspecies ''fokiensis''.
⤷  ''saturatior'' Hume, 1874 is found in the Andaman Islands.
⤷  ''gularis'' is found in the Philippines.

''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'' 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.

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: ''Khandya''; Tamil: ''Vichuli''; Telugu: ''Lakmuka'', ''Buchegadu''; Malayalam: ''Ponman''; Kannada: ''Rajamatsi''; Sinhalese: ''Pilihuduwa''.
White-throated Kingfisher feeding on small turtle  Birds,Halcyon smyrnensis,Kingfisher,White-throated Kingfisher,feeding

Distribution

White-throated Kingfisher is a common species of a variety of habitats, mostly open country in the plains with trees, wires or other perches. The range of the species is expanding.


This kingfisher is widespread and populations are not threatened. Average density of 4.58 individuals per km2. has been noted in the Sundarbans mangroves.
Pair of White-throated Kingfishers sharing insect  Halcyon smyrnensis,White-throated Kingfisher

Habitat

White-throated Kingfisher is a common species of a variety of habitats, mostly open country in the plains with trees, wires or other perches. The range of the species is expanding.


This kingfisher is widespread and populations are not threatened. Average density of 4.58 individuals per km2. has been noted in the Sundarbans mangroves.
White throated kingfisher  Geotagged,Halcyon smyrnensis,Israel,White-throated kingfisher

Reproduction

The White-throated Kingfisher begins breeding at the onset of the Monsoons. Males perch on prominent high posts in their territory an 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 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.
kingfisher goes mirrorless a kingfisher trying to operate my canon mirrorless camera. 
A kingfisher who came to the center courtyard of TamarindHill Hotel landed on my EOS M. Geotagged,Halcyon smyrnensis,Sri Lanka,White-throated kingfisher

Food

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 Oriental 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.
White Throated Kingfisher  Geotagged,Halcyon smyrnensis,India,White-throated kingfisher

Predators

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 Oriental White-eye. A few parasites have been noted.

In the 1800s these birds were hunted for their bright feathers that were used to adorn hats.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderCoraciiformes
FamilyHalcyonidae
GenusHalcyon
SpeciesH. smyrnensis