Black-capped Kingfishers nest along river banks. Both parents dig out
the nest tunnel, up to 60cm deep. 4-5 eggs are laid.
Pekaka Kopiah/Kepala Hitam (Malay)
Kingfishers are common winter visitors that resemble the resident
White-throated Kingfishers in look and call. Black-capped Kingfishers,
however, are more quiet than their smaller resident cousins and
more wary and hard to approach closely.
Black-capped Kingfishers have a broad diet. Those near the coast
eat mainly crabs and fish. Those elsewhere eat mainly insects, particularly
those that live near water (dragonflies, water boatmen), but also
stinging insects like bees and wasps. Occasionally, frogs and small
reptiles are caught.
Black-capped Kingfishers hunt in open areas, keeping a lookout for
prey from a favourite high perch (1-2m above the water or ground).
They only rarely plunge into water to catch aquatic prey. Black-capped
Kingfishers are solitary hunters and aggressively territorial. They
may chase off not only other Black-cappeds but also other species
of Kingfishers which use similar hunting techniques.
and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
features: Medium (30cm); black cap and sides of
head; throat white; bill red. Upperparts deep blue; upper
breast white, also has a white collar; rest underparts
orange; feet red. Genders look alike.
Juvenile: blue parts duller;
buffy collar; sometimes breast scaling is extensive.
Described as a tremulous tr-ee-o; a piercing alarm
call on take off. Other calls similar to the White-throated.
In flight: Often appears mauve/purplish-blue; black
wing tips; white patch at base of primaries.
(H./Todirhamphus chloris) smaller size; black bill
and feet, blue cap, white underparts; in flight uniformly
(H. smyrnensis) lack white collar. In flight appears
Status in Singapore: Common winter visitor throughout
the island and North and South offshore islands.
World distribution: East
Asia from India to Sulawesi.
Classification: Family Alcedinidae,
subfamily Dacelonidae. World 61 species, Singapore 5 species.
For more about the hunting methods and breeding
habits of Kingfishers in general.
Migration: Black-capped Kingfishers
are the most northerly breeders in their genus. They breed in northern Asia
from India through Myanmar to China and Korea and do not appear to breed
further south than Indochina and Thailand. Those found in Singapore are
migrants that breed in Myanmar and China. They migrate alone or in pairs,
faithfully following traditional routes, going as far south as Borneo, Sumatra
and Java. They arrive in September and leave in April.
Status and threats: Black-capped Kingfishers
are not considered at risk in Singapore. They are found mainly in freshwater
habitats, open ponds, reservoirs, rivers, coasts. But elsewhere, they can
also be found in drier inland habitats and up to 1,000m high.
- Morten Strange,
"A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: including
Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo", Periplus, 2000
(p. 182: 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. 513-514: identification, distribution map,
habits, habitat, migration, conservation).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Pocket Checklist of the Birds of the Republic of Singapore",
Nature Society (Singapore), 1999 (Abundance, status, Chinese and Malay
- Morten Strange,
"Birds of Southeast Asia: A photographic guide to the birds
of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia",
New Holland, 1998 (p. 45: photo, facts).
- Lim Kim Seng and
Dana Gardner, "Birds: An Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds
of Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing Ltd., 1997 (p. 32: 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. 84: description, distribution, habits, habitat, photo).
- 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).
- G C Madoc, "An
Introduction to Malayan Birds", Malayan Nature Society, 1947
(p. 97: description, habits, habitat).
- C Hillary Fry
and Kathie Fry, "Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters and Rollers: A Handbook",
Christopher Helm, 1992 (p. 147-149: identification, habitat, habits).
- 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).