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Collared Kingfisher: Food for the young

on 7th July 2013

In June 2013, Goh Juan Hui documented a variety of food the adult Collared Kingfishers (Todiramphus chloris) brought back to feed the young at the nest. The nest was a small opening of about 4cm diameter found on the vertical wall of a monsoon drain at the forest margin (below left). This opening was towards the top of the wall, well above the water level during rainy periods.

The prey the adults brought back consisted of insects, arachnids, caterpillars, lizards and earthworms (above right). Earthworms were brought back quite a few times immediately after an early afternoon shower.

Although sexes are not distinct, but based on the worn breast feathers from incubating the eggs, the supposedly female was less cautious when bringing food back to the nest. On the other hand the supposedly male was more cautious. The slightest movement within a 30 metre range would send him flying to a nearby tree to wait until the coast was clear. He also brought back bigger prey like the Common Flying Dragon (Draco sumatranus) (above and below).

Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor) (below left) and Garden Supple Skink (Lygosoma bowringii) (below right) were also part of the menu.

The image below shows the Collared Kingfisher with a grasshopper for the young.

Spiders were also brought (below left) as well as caterpillars (below right).

Check out an earlier post on the Collared Kingfisher’s menu for the chicks LINK.

Credit: Goh Juan Hui (images), Subaraj Rajathurai (ID flying dragon, skink).

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

4 Responses

  1. Great photographic documentation. And you do show what a wide range of prey is hunted by the kingfishers. But I wonder if all the items went into the chicks. There have been other documented cases of parent birds bringing back things that they could swallow, but which were unsuitable and far too big for their chicks. With species that build open nests, observers can see what happens to the food. Too bad that with kingfishers, we can only guess.

  2. More study is needed on the subject of unsuitable food for fledglings. It is known among birds of prey and some mammalian predators that the urge to feed or hunt is inhibited in the vicinity of the nest or den. This is so that the parents will not see their young as prey. Once prey is brought to the vicinity of the nest, if the chicks don’t eat it, there is a good chance that the parents might not either. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. Perhaps some observers can contribute their opinions from what they have actually seen in the field.

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