Stork-billed Kingfisher catching another fish

on 15th August 2008

This is another documentation of the Stork-billed Kingfisher (Halcyon capensis) catching a young Common Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) by Kennie Pan. This fish is not native to the region but introduced for food. This is probably the most successful and widely distributed of the tilapias.

The kingfisher was successful in catching this fish after three tries, diving at intervals of five to 20 minutes. The bird is often around Symphony Lake at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Sometimes it flies off after a few unsuccessful dives, to return in the evening or the next day.

As Kennie wrote, “I realised that the Stork-billed is a ferocious predator when, instead of picking up the fish from the water by scooping it into it’s beak, it just dived-bombed directly at it’s target. It flapped its wings during the initial dive, to fold them as it gains momentum just before touching the water.

“The speed was so fast that most probably the fish had little chance of escaping. Due to the powerful impact, the beak just pierced right through the fish, probably killing it instantly, though it still whacked the fish against the branch when it returned to its favourite perch. After about three minutes of whacking, it flew off with its catch.

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.

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