Common Kingfishers in confrontation

on 11th November 2008

A pair of Common Kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) found themselves on a piece of rocky surface by a pond and decided that two was a crowd (above). A fierce confrontation ensued (below) but the fight was rudely interrupted by the arrival of a sparrowhawk that suddenly flew in from above.

The exciting moments were documented by Lee Tiah Khee in mid-October 2008. The raptor missed its meal as the kingfishers managed to evade capture and Tiah Khee missed taking a shot of the raptor.

Few kingfishers fall prey to other animals. These birds are extremely alert and their fast flight allows them the escape most avian predators. Woodall (2001) reports the case of a Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) that evaded a pair of Lanner Falcons’ (Falco biarmicus) two attempted strikes in the air by rolls and somersaults. At the third attempt the kingfisher dived into the water and submerged. Three more times it submerged but finally exhausted, it was caught as it fluttered out on the mud.

Woodall, P. F., 2001. Family Alcedinidae (Kingfishers). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 6. Mousebirds to Hornbills. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 130-249.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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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