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.
White Collared Kingfisher, Pekaka Sungei/Bakau
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.
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
and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
Medium (24cm); turquoise head and upperparts; broad white
collar bordered by narrow black line; underparts white;
back varies from greenish-blue to turquoise;
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
Juvenile: Duller; broader
black collar margin; fine black scalloping across the
Call: Described as variable
laughing calls from a soft quiet chuckle to harsh loud
maniacal kek-kek, kek-kek. At rest, has a gentle
In flight: Uniform turquoise
(Halcyon smyrnensis) has red bill and feet.
(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 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
- 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).