Pied kingfisher

The only member of the genus having wide distribution across Asia and Africa is sociable, unlike other members of its family

Renowned for its striking black and white plumage and distinctive crest, it holds the distinction of being the smallest among the three most numerous kingfisher species. This charismatic bird is commonly found in habitats adjacent to water bodies, such as rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams, where it displays its remarkable hunting prowess.

One of the most remarkable behaviors exhibited by the pied kingfisher is its unique hunting technique. Unlike other kingfisher species that typically dive from perches to catch their prey, the pied kingfisher employs a different strategy. It is known for its ability to hover effortlessly over clear water bodies, using its keen eyesight to spot small fish, crustaceans, and aquatic insects swimming below the surface. Once it locates its prey, the pied kingfisher plunges headfirst into the water with remarkable precision, emerging moments later with its catch secured firmly in its bill.

However, the pied kingfisher’s culinary skills extend beyond mere hunting prowess. This adaptable bird is capable of consuming its prey while in flight, a feat that sets it apart from other members of the kingfisher family. This remarkable ability allows the pied kingfisher to snatch prey from the water’s surface and immediately take to the air without the need to perch and consume its meal.

When it comes to nesting, the pied kingfisher exhibits a preference for vertical mud holes situated along the riverbank, typically positioned approximately five feet above the water. Within these earthen burrows, the female pied kingfisher lays its eggs and raises its young, demonstrating remarkable parental care and dedication throughout the breeding season.

While the pied kingfisher is primarily a resident species within its native range, it also engages in seasonal migrations, particularly in response to changing environmental conditions or resource availability. Despite its relatively small size, the pied kingfisher is a swift and agile flyer, capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 hm/h (31 mph) during its migratory journeys.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2016
Breeding
Angola
2016
Bahrain
2016
Non-Breeding
Bangladesh
2016
Breeding
Benin
2016
Bhutan
2016
Breeding
Botswana
2016
Burkina Faso
2016
Burundi
2016
Cambodia
2016
Breeding
Cameroon
2016
Central Af. Rep.
2016
Chad
2016
China
2016
Breeding
Congo-Brazzaville
2016
Cyprus
2016
Breeding
Côte D’ivoire
2016
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2016
Djibouti
2016
Egypt
2016
Equatorial Guinea
2016
Eritrea
2016
Eswatini
2016
Ethiopia
2016
France
2016
Non-Breeding
Gabon
2016
Gambia
2016
Ghana
2016
Greece
2016
Non-Breeding
Guinea-Bissau
2016
Guinea
2016
Hong Kong
2016
Breeding
India
2016
Breeding
Iran
2016
Iraq
2016
Israel
2016
Breeding
Jordan
2016
Kenya
2016
Kuwait
2016
Non-Breeding
Laos
2016
Breeding
Lebanon
2016
Lesotho
2016
Liberia
2016
Macao
2016
Seasonality Uncertain
Malawi
2016
Mali
2016
Mauritania
2016
Mozambique
2016
Myanmar
2016
Breeding
Namibia
2016
Nepal
2016
Breeding
Niger
2016
Nigeria
2016
Oman
2016
Non-Breeding
Pakistan
2016
Breeding
Poland
2016
Non-Breeding
Qatar
2016
Non-Breeding
Rwanda
2016
Saudi Arabia
2016
Non-Breeding
Senegal
2016
Sierra Leone
2016
Somalia
2016
South Africa
2016
South Sudan
2016
Sri Lanka
2016
Sudan
2016
Syria
2016
São Tomé & Príncipe
2016
Non-Breeding
Tanzania
2016
Thailand
2016
Breeding
Togo
2016
Turkey
2016
UAE
2016
Non-Breeding
Uganda
2016
Ukraine
2016
Non-Breeding
Vietnam
2016
Breeding
Zambia
2016
Zimbabwe
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No