White-Throated Kingfishers and their prey

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Kingfishers | 0

“I was rushing back home when I saw this breeding pair of White-throated Kingfishers (Halcyon smyrnensis) robbing a chick from the nest of a Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius).

“The tailorbirds were making very loud noises and that caught my full attention. So I stopped my car and quickly got down to get my gear ready. But before I could get out from my car the kingfisher had already caught hold of one chick. I could hear the chick calling. Of course the parents were helpless. Now I wondered would the kingfisher go back for another chick.

“This was the third time I saw these kingfishers catching small bird to eat. In 2007 I managed to take some shots on one of them catching a Eurasian Tree-sparrow (Passer montanus) (above, below).

“The second bird the kingfisher caught, I could not identify the prey and failed to take any photo.

Also attached are two old photos (above with snake, below with rat). I am always interested to study this breeding pair because they always give me much pleasant surprises. The prey they caught were exceptionally special.

“This morning I saw one of the kingfishers whacking the prey vigorously until I saw intestines coming out from the prey’s stomach. When the kingfisher tried to swallow it, it nearly choked. The partner watching nearby was calling so loudly and from its eyes appeared ‘worried’. Fortunately the kingfisher managed to cough out the prey and resumed whacking it. By then they noticed me and moved away to finish eating the prey. How I wish I could video the whole series.

“Remarks – during nesting periods, the pair commonly caught fence lizards, frogs and cicadas. Rarely did they bring back fish to feed the chicks.”

Connie Khoo Siew Yoong
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
21st February 2014



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