Common Kingfisher handling fish

KC Tsang was among those who were at Jurong in late October 2008 to greet the Common Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris), an uncommon winter visitor to Singapore.

“It was late this morning at the Japanese Gardens, that I had the opportunity of witnessing the violent way that a Common Kingfisher dispatched with it’s catch.

“The bird was at it’s usual post, these birds have a habit of going back to it’s favorite perch. Suddenly in a split second the bird disappeared, and as quickly it appeared with a fish clamped between it’s bill, as one can see it is not securely held, and only by its tail (above).

“The fish being very much alive, was trying its best to escape from being eaten by flipping itself up and down while being held by the bill of the bird.

“The bird on realising the situation. went about trashing the fish on to the branch that it was perching on (above). This went on for a number of times. One of my pictures shows that the kingfisher is able to turn its head 180 degrees up before bringing the fish down with a smashing blow (above right).

“After deciding that the fish had enough of trashing, the kingfisher flipped it around and swallowed it head first (left).”

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