Stork-billed Kingfisher – Display and calls

“I had an opportunity today to watch 2 Stork-billed Kingfishers (Pelargopsis capensis malaccensis) exhibiting displays. I am uncertain as to the reason for the behaviour as there was no conflict between the two birds, although there was faint answering response in the distance. Both birds took turns to call and display. Stork-billed Kingfishers are seldom seen together and this could have been part of mating behaviour.

K'fisherSB-display-calls [AmarSingh] 1

“They appeared as a pair but, if you notice in the above image, the bird in the foreground, although an adult, has a lighter cap and the tip of the beak was less black.

K'fisherSB-display-calls [AmarSingh] 2

“White-throated Kingfishers often show mating displays and the outstretched wings are held open longer. The Stork-billed Kingfishers wing display is extremely brief and hard to capture on camera (above) and the short shown video below.

“Besides lifting the wings and calling, the birds would also lift up the tail (below).

K'fisherSB-display-calls [AmarSingh] 3

“There was some head bobbing but that occurs even when not displaying. I looked hard for raised crest feathers but the action is almost imperceptible and not frequent. When making the screeching calls the beak is hardly open and the throat fills out (below).

K'fisherSB-display-calls [AmarSingh] 4aK'fisherSB-display-calls [AmarSingh] 4b

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
2nd June 2017

Location: Tambun, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Secondary growth near limestone hills and ex-mining pools (fish farming)

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