Blue Eared Kingfisher
Scientific name: Alcedo meninting, Horsfield, 1821.
IUCN Red list status-Least Concern
Did you know?
- Blue eared Kingfisher has close resemblance with Common kingfisher except for the blue ear stripe.
The Blue-eared Kingfisher is 16 to 17 cm long and weighs 15 to 24 grams. The overall plumage is bluish on the upperparts and rufous on the under parts. The crown, nape and face are bright ultramarine. The crown is closely banded with darker ultramarine marks. There is a rufous frontal spot in males. On both the sides of the neck, there is white blaze. The main feature is bluish ear stripe which helps us to distinguish it from Common Kingfisher. The chin and throat are white. The adult males have dark bill with white tip and the females have a reddish lower mandible. The irises are black and legs are red. Juveniles have rufous-orange ear coverts as in Common Kingfisher but have dark blue upperparts.
The diet of Blue-eared Kingfisher is mostly fish. Small fish, crustaceans, dragonfly nymphs and aquatic insects, grasshoppers and mantis are also taken. They perches on a branch of a tree overhanging densely shaded slow moving stream or river. On locating its prey, it dives into water and catches it with the beak. After catching the prey, it flies back to its perch and the prey is battered to death and swallowed by taking the head first. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily.
Blue-eared Kingfisher is a forest bird. They have an affinity towards the streams, rivers and other water bodies in dense forests. Sometimes they can be seen in areas near to forests also. In India it is distributed in the forest areas of Himalayan foothills, Eastern India, Eastern Ghats, and Western Ghats. They are also seen Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The breeding season of Blue-eared Kingfisher is from April to August with a peak in May and June. Courtship includes male offering food items to female. The nest is a meter long tunnel excavated in the bank of a stream by both parent birds. The same nest may be used for coming years also. Normally 5-7 eggs are laid. Period of Incubation is 20-23 days. Both parents share all domestic duties.
The call is a single high pitched “trree-tee-tee” sound.
Related Species and Sub Species
- Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).
- Blyth’s Kingfisher (Alcedo hercules).
- Alcedo meninting phillipsi of Southwest India and Sri Lanka.
- Alcedo meninting rufigastra of Andaman Islands.
- Alcedo meninting coltarti of Nepal, Northeast India, and Indochina.
Non Migratory, Rare Resident.