Monday, 1 August 2016

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Adult White-throated Kingfisher (subspecies H. s. perpulchra) in Kuala Lumpur - July 2016

OTHER NAMES: White-breasted Kingfisher*, Smyrna Kingfisher 
Local Name (Malay): Pekaka Dada Putih ("White-Chested Kingfisher")
Featured Subspecies: Halycon smyrnensis perpulchra
Weight: 60-88g
Length: 26-28cm
Wingspan: 40-43cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Coming from Britain with our single small and elusive species of kingfisher, the White-throated Kingfisher is both surprisingly large and surprisingly ubiquitous.  Most notably perhaps of the contrasts though is that it is not strictly associated with water - while I did see them along rivers and streams, I also saw them in such incongruous locations as on a lamp-post over a motorway or on the power-lines over a railway.  This is a result of their more varied diet - unlike the fish specialist Common Kingfisher, here they are more general predators who also hunt lizards and invertebrates.

Related Species:
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Alcedinidae
Genus: Halycon
SUBSPECIES: H. s. smyrnensis, H. s. fusca, H. s. saturatior, H. s. perpulchra, H. s. fokiensis, H. s. gularis* 

 - Sighting Locations -
MALAYSIA - Description
 - MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE 2016 TRIP: Seen in small numbers throughout the trip in many locations including Kuala Lumpur

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

*This is another case of name confusion based on splits - the White-breasted Kingfisher is a Philippine equivalent Halycon gularis, which is either regarded as a full species of a subspecies of this one.

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