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White-throated Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: White-breasted Kingfisher or Smyrna Kingfisher

Nominate subspecies
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, Dec-2015
Halcyon smyrnensis

Includes: Brown-breasted Kingfisher


Subspecies H. s. fokiensis
Photo © by Neil
Hong Kong,China, July, 2009

26·5–28 cm (10½-11 in)

  • Bluish-back, wings and tail
  • Chestnut head, shoulders, flanks and lower belly
  • White throat and breast
  • Red bill and legs

Sexes are similar; juveniles are a duller version of the adult.


Large white patches are visible on the open wings.


Subspecies H. s. fusca : Courting pair
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Dist. Nainital, Uttarakhand Himalayas, Alt. 5200 ft., India, April-2011

Egypt and Turkey east through Middle East and South Asia to the Philippines.



Subspecies H. s. perpulchra
Photo © by ndwgolf
Lake Garden, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 2015

Five[1] or six[2] subspecies are recognized:

  • H. s. smyrnensis:
  • H. s. fusca:
  • H. s. saturatior:
  • H. s. perpulchra:
  • H. s. fokiensis:
  • H. s. gularis: Brown-breasted Kingfisher


They make use of a mixture of habitats such as ponds, canals, swamps and mudflats, usually with some trees. The are not always found near water.



Rare but sometimes they prey on small birds, a Lesser Whitethroat here
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Gurgaon Rural, Haryana, India, 25 February 2020

Their varied diet consists of large insects such as crickets and grasshoppers, rodents, snakes, fish and frogs and small birds.


As with most kingfisher species, the nest chamber is in an earthy bank. The clutch consists of 4-7 round white eggs.


Recording by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, June-2017
Two individuals calling- one near and other at a distance.Calls by Greater Coucal, Western Koel-male, Red-wattled Lapwing and Common Myna are heard in the BG.


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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