Common Kingfisher: Comfort and feeding behaviour

on 17th January 2013

These images of the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) was taken by KM Sim on 29th December 2012 at the Japanese Garden in Jurong.

Note that the kingfisher is in its comfort mode, first scratching its head directly by raising its right foot from under its wing. This method of scratching is typical of terrestrial birds – mainly to preen its head feathers. Usually preening is done with the bill. See HERE in the case of the Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri). On the other hand, with aboreal birds, they scratch with the its foot extended over the wing, as in the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) HERE.

Comfort activities also involve stretching it wings, as shown above.

The Common Kingfisher was also documented manipulating a large fish that it caught earlier (above and below). Kingfishers need to be careful to swallow the fish head first. Swallowing tail first will result in the spines of the fish causing damage to the bird, sometimes even leading to death. Here, the bird is carefully manipulating the fish so that it enters its buccal cavity head first.

KM Sim
January 2013

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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