Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pied Kingfisher

Ceryle rudis
The Pied Kingfisher is one of the most common Kingfishers in the world. You'll find them throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where they live in lowland regions near bodies of water.

Pied Kingfishers are very distinctive in appearance. They have white faces with black masks, stark black bills, and patchy (pied) white and black feathers on their crest, back, and wings. Males and females differ in their chest bands-- males have two, females only one.

Fish are the primary prey of the Pied Kingfisher, though aquatic insects and crustaceans will also be consumed. They hunt by hovering over the water, and once they spot prey they dive in with their large bill first and snatch it up. They can swallow small fish whole, which allows them to hunt longer (rather than returning to a nest to feed).

Pied Kingfishers do their nesting in holes that they dig out in vertical sandbanks. These holes can be more than 4ft long, and can take up to a month to excavate. As many as seven eggs are laid at a time, and mom and dad often have help in raising their brood-- chicks from the previous year often stick around to help out their younger siblings, and non-breeding adults will sometimes also lend a hand.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa and Asia
Size : length up to 7in (18cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Coraciiformes
Family : Cerylidae -- Genus : Ceryle -- Species : C. rudis
Image : Koshyk

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