Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The adaptable kingfisher

The collared kingfisher is one of the most common kingfishers in Singapore. Previously, this kingfisher's main habitat was mangrove and coastal areas but it has spread in land into almost all our parks. You can tell the presence of these birds by their loud calls. The Monetary Authority of Singapore between 1976 and 1984t featured the collared kingfisher on the S$10 note in the "Bird Series" currency collection.

They were known to nest in burrows excavated from termite mounds, or along the roots of ferns growing on trees, or dug by the banks of rivers. They also nest in existing holes in living or dead trees such as palms or bore their own holes. In urbanized Singapore, this highly adaptable kingfisher learned to make use of man-made structures such as drainage holes in canals.
A pair were nesting in a hole and they were busy feeding their hungry chicks.

Being far from their original habitat, these birds altered their diet. The inland birds consume lizards, small snakes, frogs, earthworms and insects such as beetles, bees and grasshoppers, which puts them in direct competition with the white-throated kingfisher. 
At a different canal, I spotted three newly fledged kingfishers sitting by the safety rail waiting for their parents to feed them. By the next day, they were less obvious as the three scattered in the area. I did find one that was patiently sitting on the rail waiting for its parents.

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