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Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher casting pellet

on 31st January 2010

Kennie Pan caught on video an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithacus), also known as Black-backed Kingfisher, casting a pellet.

The kingfisher was quietly perching on a branch when it gaped widely (above left). On the third gape the mandibles remained wide for a few seconds longer before a large black and roundish pellet appeared (above right, below left). And just as suddenly, the pellet was cast.

The kingfisher remained on its perch, mandibles clamped shut and head bobbing on and off. At times it turned its head around, looked down and gaped narrowly.

Another video showed the kingfisher flapping its wings a few times before vigorously flapping them just before flying off.

A paper published on pellet casting by non-raptorial birds can be viewed HERE. Included among the birds photographed casting pellets are two kingfishers – Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda). With the Oriental Dwarf showcased here, we now have images of three kingfishers casting pellets.

Video grabs taken from Kennie Pan’s videos that are posted in his facebook.

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

7 Responses

  1. Good documentation.

    Unable to explain the flapping of wings, but it could be due to:
    1. exercising for comfort
    2. balancing or stabilising itself on the precarious perch
    3. an expression of excitement

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