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Life around a rotting tree trunk 2: Collared Kingfisher

on 24th May 2006

A pair of Collared Kingfishers (Todiramphus chloris) was nesting in a cavity found at the central point of a rotting tree trunk in a small piece of secondary growth at Eng Neo. Most of March 2006 the birds were flying in and out of the nest. Sometimes the arrival would be accomp!nied by the shrill cries of the bird. At other times the bird would fly in silently.

The hungry nestlings needed to be fed regularly and the parents worked hard bringing them food. There would always be some invertebrates like a centipede or a grasshopper. The birds would stop over at a nearby tree, checking to see whether it was safe to proceed, before flying to the nest. Initially, it entered the cavity to pass on the food but later it just stopped at the entrance. Sometimes both parent birds approached the cavity at the same time. In such cases one would veer off and wait its turn. There had also been a few cases when the morsel brought to the nest was not accepted by the nestlings (see above). In such cases the parent bird flew off to a nearby perch to consume it.

At the upper end of the trunk was another cavity. Here, a pair of Long-tailed Parakeets (Psittacula longicauda) initially took occupancy. The presence of the parakeets nesting above caused no problems to the kingfishers. Both species coexisted peacefully. However, when the hornbills were around the rotting trunk, which was not often, the kingfishers as well as the parakeets were invariably frightened away.

Text by YC; images by Meng and Melinda Chan (Great Hornbill, bottom) and YC (the rest).

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

3 Responses

  1. I have been observing a pair of nesting collared kingfisher at Kuala Juru, mainland Penang, for nearly everyday from feeding until fledging. (Time to fledge about minimum 18 days-not certain exact date eggs were laid). A few times the parents will fly away from the nest (hole on laterite “cliff” about 10ft high) with food still in their beak but everytime they will return to feed the chicks. There could be 3 reasons why they flew away with food, 1) The parents were disturb 2) It takes too long to feed, food too big, not dead enough, etc (safety reasons it will back away 3) One of the chick is already too full and will refuse food, it will fly back to feed another chick. Sometimes it will drop its food flying towards the nest or away from the nest but it will pick it up and feed the chicks. The 2 chicks fledged about a week ago and the parents are still feeding them at the mangroves at the river mouth of Sg. Juru. I was lucky enough to observe another family of already fledged collared KF (with 3 chicks) about 100 metres away, and the parents continue to feed them for at least another 2 weeks. Tan Choo Eng, Penang.

  2. Thanks for your note, Choo Eng. Such information is valuable and adds on to our knowledge of these birds.

  3. Pingback: kuala juru

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