Thursday, November 17, 2011

Even kingfishers migrate

We have three migrant kingfishers that winter in Singapore during the Northern Hemisphere fall migration. The Common Kingfisher and Black-capped Kingfisher will winter here along our water ways. While the Ruddy Kingfisher, which is a forest kingfisher can be found inland.
The easiest to spot of the three is the Common Kingfisher, even though it is the smallest migrant. This sparrow-size bird will emit a short sharp whistle when it is flying, and its call makes it easier to locate the bird. I have been lucky to photograph both sexes very early into the migratory season.
male with a little fish between its beak

Both male and female Common Kingfishers are almost identical in appearance. The only way to distinguish the sexes apart is by looking at the beak. Female Common Kingfishers have an orange tinged lower mandible with a black tip.
Then we had a bumper season with four may be five Ruddy Kingfishers arriving over a period of two weeks. These are widely distributed Kingfishers that has a range as far north as Japan and South Korea right through to the Philippines. The species is no longer found here in Singapore although there may be some that still live on our outer islands. As to why there were so many sighted on the island of Singapore this season we can only guess.
young adult photographed 4 Nov 2011
young adult arrived on 10 Nov 2011
With the addition of the Ruddy to my collection, I have photographed 7 out of 8 kingfishers that can be found in Singapore. I need a Black-capped Kingfisher to complete the Singapore collection.

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