Thursday, 5 August 2010
There are close to 90 species of Kingfishers around the world, and out of that, 4 to 5 species can be found in Singapore.
Kingfishers are a group of small to medium sized brightly coloured birds in the order Coraciiformes. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species occurring throughout the worlds tropics and temperate regions. The group is treated either as a single family, Alcedinidae, or as a suborder Alcedines containing three families, Alcedinidae (river kingfishers), Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers), and Cerylidae (water kingfishers).
All kingfishers have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. Most species have bright plumage with little differences between the sexes. Most species are tropical in distribution, and a slight majority are found only in forests. They consume a wide range of prey as well as fish, usually caught by swooping down from a perch. Like other members of their order they nest in cavities, usually tunnels dug into the natural or artificial banks in the ground, though I've not actually seen this.
So far, I have seen the Collared (Halcyon chloris) and the White-throated (Halcyon smyrnensis) Kingfishers. In fact, the latter species frequents the trees around my area, often making it's very distinctive loud calls with the occasional piercing staccato laugh. I'll try to do a recording sometime.