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Collared Kingfisher
Halcyon chloris

White Collared Kingfisher, Pekaka Sungei/Bakau (Malay)


The Collared Kingfisher is the most common Kingfisher in Singapore. One reason for this could be the wide variety of prey that they take: from fish, crabs and prawns, to lizards, small snakes, insects, tadpoles and earthworms. Those hunting along the coast eat mainly small crabs and crustacea, and some fish, mostly mudskippers.

collared kingfisher (deeper blue)Collared Kingfishers perch-and-wait on a branch, post, fence, mound or wire (up to 3-4 m above the ground) overlooking open grass, shallow water, mudflats or beach.

They whack larger prey against the perch. They have also been seen hammering shells against stones to get at the mollusc or hermit crab. They may even snatch prey caught by others (one was seen snatching a prawn caught by a Little Heron).

Collared Kingfishers are particularly aggressive. Not only towards their own kind, but also towards other Kingfisher species. This could be another reason for the widespread presence. The decline in the White-throated Kingfishers might also be due to the spread of the Collared.
Mangrove and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
Main features:
Medium (24cm); turquoise head and upperparts; broad white collar bordered by narrow black line; underparts white;
back varies from greenish-blue to turquoise;
collared kingfisher (lighter blue)
feet black; bill- maxilla black, mandible dirty white.

Adult: As above. In a mated pair, the male tends to be slightly more blue, while the female tends to be more green.

Juvenile: Duller; broader black collar margin; fine black scalloping across the breast.

Call: Described as variable laughing calls from a soft quiet chuckle to harsh loud maniacal kek-kek, kek-kek. At rest, has a gentle chup-kree.

In flight: Uniform turquoise upperparts.

Similar birds:
White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) has red bill and feet.
Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata) has red bill and feet.

Status in Singapore: The most common Kingfisher in Singapore, resident throughout the island and North and South offshore islands.

World distribution: Middle East to the Western Pacific.

Classification: Family Alcedinidae, subfamily Dacelonidae. World 61 species, Singapore 5 species.
collared kingfisher (showing black and white neck band)They are also aggressive towards other birds such as mynas; vigorously driving off these birds from their feeding grounds, particularly during breeding season. They may even drive off landbound creatures.

a pair of collared kingfishersBreeding: Collared Kingfishers breed in Singapore. They perform courtship flights and the male may offer the female titbits. Both parents make the nest. They prefer to dig out a nest in dead trees or palms and sometimes take over woodpecker holes. Some even burrow into the active nests of ants and termite high in the trees. Or burrow among the roots of a fern growing in a tree. Only occasionally do they dig out tunnel nests in earth banks or a mud lobster mound. Good nest sites are often reused at the next breeding season. 2-4, usually 3, white eggs are laid. In a good season, two broods may be raised.

For more about the hunting methods and breeding habits of Kingfishers in general.

Migration? Most Collared Kingfishers in our region appear to be resident.

Status and threats: The Collared Kingfisher is not considered at risk in Singapore. In the past, they were mostly found along the coasts and mangroves. But they have moved inland to hunt along freshwater wetlands, cultivated lands, gardens and parks. They usually avoid forests.


LINKS REFERENCES
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Nature's Niche
  • Morten Strange, "A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: including Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo", Periplus, 2000 (p. 183: description, voice, habits, distribution, status, photo).
  • Morten Strange, "Tropical Birds of Malaysia and Singapore", Periplus Editions, 2000 (p. 34: habits, habitat, photo).
  • David R Wells, "The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 (Non-Passarines)", Academic Press, 1999 (p. 514-516: identification, distribution map, habits, habitat, migration, conservation).
  • Morten Strange, "Birds of Southeast Asia: A photographic guide to the birds of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia", New Holland, 1998 (p. 42: photo, facts).
  • Lim Kim Seng and Dana Gardner, "Birds: An Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds of Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing Ltd., 1997 (p. 31: identification, status in Singapore, distribution, diagram, number of species).
  • G W H Davison and Chew Yen Fook, "A Photographic Guide to Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore", New Holland Publishers Ltd., 1995 (p. 61: identification, status in Singapore, distribution, photo).
  • Morten Strange and Allen Jeyarajasingam, "Birds: A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing, 1993 (p. 134: description, distribution, habits, habitat, photo).
  • Clive Briffett, "A Guide to the Common Birds of Singapore", BP Science Centre,1992 (p. 82: habit, habitat).
  • Christopher Hails, "Birds of Singapore" illustrated by Frank Jarvis, Times Editions, 1987 reprinted 1995 (p. 104: habits, description, status in Singapore, and lovely drawings of the birds).
  • Lim Kim Seng, "Vanishing Birds of Singapore", Nature Society (Singapore), 1992 (p. 11: status in Singapore).
  • M W F Tweedie, "Common Birds of the Malay Peninsula", Longman,1970 (p. 28: description, distribution, habits, habitat, drawing).
  • G C Madoc, "An Introduction to Malayan Birds", Malayan Nature Society, 1947 (p. 96: description, habits, habitat).
  • Sir John A S Bucknill and E N Chasen, " Birds of Singapore and South-East Asia", Tynron Press, 1927, edition 1990 (p. 123-125: identification, status in Singapore, distribution, field notes on habits, drawings).
  • Prof. Dr. Yong Hoi Sen (ed.), "The Encyclopedia of Malaysia: Animals"; Kingfishers and Woodpeckers by Siti Hawa bt Yatim, Editions Didier Millet, 1998 (p. 56: habits, habitats).
 
By Ria Tan, 2001