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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Tree Kingfishers
   
   

Fig 1 : Collared Kingfisher
 

Fig 2 : Black-capped Kingfisher
  

Fig 3 : Black-capped Kingfisher
 

Fig 4 : Black-capped Kingfisher
   

Fig 5 : Banded Kingfisher - male
 

Fig 6 : Stork-billed Kingfisher


Fig 7 : White-throated Kingfisher


Fig 8 : Forest Kingfisher


Fig 9 : Brown-winged Kingfisher


 

Superlative in their colourful plumage and sleek appearance, kingfishers are amongst the most unmistakable of bird groups. Tree kingfishers (or wood kingfishers), comprise the family Halcyonidae (the other two kingfisher families being the river kingfishers and pied kingfishers). Kingfishers are believed to have evolved within Southeast Asia and then radiated to other parts of the tropics.

Tree kingfishers have stout bodies, short tails and long, thick, powerful bills. Many inhabit forested areas far from any water body, and thus fishes form only part of their diet which also includes insects and small invertebrates, particularly lizards, which are plucked on the wing from tree branches. They nest in tree holes and termite mounds.

If disturbed near a nesting site, these birds fly silently away. Once at a safe distance they call loudly to distract the attention of the intruder.

Tree kingfishers are a diverse group : in Southeast Asia 20 species or more are recognised, and this number rises to more than 30 when those species from New Guinea whose ranges extend into easternmost Indonesia are included.


Fig 1 :
Collared Kingfisher (Mangrove Kingfisher)
Todirhamphus chloris
Location :
West Coast, Singapore
Habitat : Secondary forest

Figs 2 to 4 :
B
lack-capped Kingfisher
Halcyon pileata
Location :
West Coast, Singapore
Habitats :
Swampy lake (Fig 2), and coastal mangrove (Figs 3 and 4).

Fig 5 :
Banded Kingfisher (male)
Lacedo pulchella
Location :
Johor, Peninsular Malaysia
Habitat : Lowland primary forest, near freshwater swamp forest.

Fig 6 :
Stork-billed Kingfisher

Pelargopsis capensis
Location :
Sungei Buloh, Singapore
Habitat : Mangrove estuary

Fig 7 :
White-throated Kingfisher

Halcyon smyrnensis
Location : West Coast, Singapore
Habitat : Secondary forest

Fig 8 :
Forest Kingfisher

Todirhamphus macleayii
Location : Central highlands, New Guinea
Habitat : Lower montane primary rainforest

Fig 9 :
Brown-winged Kingfisher

Pelargopsis amauroptera
Location :
Langkawi, Peninsular Malaysia
Habitat : Mangrove inlet