Birds in my backyard - Chapter 3 - Kingfisher

This post marks the Third Chapter on my random observations of my winged visiting friends.

The earlier Chapters are dedicated to the racket causing pigeons in the area and to the humble house crow, who I felt deserved a special place for just being here. I remember how we used to take sparrows for granted - do you take snaps of crow, sparrows and mynas? That's because they are around us all the time, and in plenty too - but recent studies show that the sparrow population is dwindling at an alarming rate, which is why I dedicated my earlier chapters to the commonly available birds. I wanted to appreciate their beauty while they are still around and not wait for them to go the sparrow way.

This time the spotlight is on the kingfisher. I have seen him in my society since a long time, but it is only this year that the beautiful visitor graced the branch opposite my window sill. I was under the impression that kingfishers are birds that fed on fish and are to be found near lakes. At least, that is what the name implied.

The facts are: (
Habitat : Common Kingfisher prefers to live near streams, slow flowing rivers, ponds and lakes.
Diet : Common kingfisher feeds on aquatic insects, small fish and prawns. They mostly hunt during the morning or evening hours.
Population: It is categorised under least concern, as they are available in large numbers.

It explains why the kingfisher chose this area as his hunting ground. The area behind my house as I say in most of my window sill posts is marshy and covered with thick undergrowth thanks to the water pipe line running there. I have seen families of mongoose and a few snakes which obviously implies that there are small aquatic creatures breeding in the area.

Behavioural pattern:
Earlier there used to be only one, but on two occasions I have noticed that there are two kingfishers in this habitat. They visit only after 11.00a.m. and leave by 4.00 or 5.00p.m just before sunset. I have also observed that the kingfisher is certainly a patient bird (No idea about vultures!). I have never caught them eating anything, but they do keep a watch and remain in more or less the same position for 2hours at a stretch which is why I call them 'meditating kingfishers'.

They have two or three types of calls - all are throaty and loud. Sometimes when it is just perched the call is rhythmic and long - like a long whistle interrupted by harsh breaks. And when it takes off it gives a short harsh call. I have not recorded it as yet, but will do so next time.

(See for yourself and check here - Its interesting how I got his photographs in every possible angle)
The kingfisher who has been around this area almost every day since December had disappeared with the onset of summer. After nearly 3 weeks I heard his call (On 27/4/08) while on the comp. and ran to look at it. It was not facing me. When H imitated its call, it immediately did an about turn and started peering. Later it again turned back and minutes later flew away. I wanted to share its pictures and its moods. Mine is a canon powershot A630 without any additional lenses.

My observations are that of an amateur bird-watcher. I would appreciate anyone who could add more.

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