Sunday, June 20, 2010

පිළිහුඩුවා[Pilihuduwa]/White -Throated Kingfisher(Halcyon smyrnensis)

Very common breeding resident of all zones though less abundant at higher elevations. Usually perch on roadside telephone wires or similar vantage point in open areas, often well away from water and pounce upon its prey which basically consists of grasshoppers, small lizards, frogs, earthworms, beetles, mantises, etc. It is said that fish only a secondary food item of this kingfisher unlike other members of its family. Its call note which is a loud rattling scream somewhat like red-backed woodpecker’s flight call, uttered when it takes wings and short chick often uttered when waiting on a post or an exposed branch for its prey. Nesting burrow of this kingfisher is a dug in a river bank, a tank bank or even road side cutting (again not closer to water) and sloping upward tunnel ends in a widened egg chamber. Nesting period extends from December to June while peak season is March -April. It is observed that to feed its young white-throated kingfisher take small birds such as sunbirds, Munias and tailor birds.

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