' The Pied Kingfisher

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The Pied Kingfisher
By Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira

May 26, 2013

We generally make time to write an article in relation to wild life during the summer months, to inspire young children to pick up their digital cameras and spend time outdoors, photographing wildlife, in their surrounding environment. Walking the natural trail provides the basis of a lifelong learning experience that will last a lifetime in the minds and hearts of  children. Parents can play an active role in helping kids get outdoors, reconnect with wildlife and become more aware of the natural world in their own back yard.

Today, most kids spend twice as much time on computers and TV sets, missing out on the simple pleasures and lasting mental and physical health benefits of daily outdoor activities. Children interacting with the natural world, learn to appreciate value of community and bond with people and have a enhancing social interaction. In the recent past children have been increasingly spending most of their childhood indoors compared to the older generation leading to very high levels of obesity. Walking hand in hand with nature has many advantages. It not only increases fitness levels and build active healthy bodies, but also improves vision and raises the level of vitamin D. Often children who love nature are less stressed out.

Recently "Daijiworld Weekly" brought out a very interesting article on Earth day. Earth Day is observed on April 22 each year. Earth day is the perfect opportunity to take the pledge to take children outdoors and sensitize them towards Nature. Earth Day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

It is important for one to understand that we are surrounded by nature and it is not necessary to seek nature in only wildlife sanctuaries. A small wooded place or a pond or river bed on the outskirts of a buzzing city can be teaming with various bird species.

Wildlife activities are instrumental in helping kids of all ages connect with nature. Observing Birds and animals, in their natural habitat offers interesting educational discoveries and bonds children with nature. Nature is  a great Teacher and when a child or a student learns to appreciate nature, it allows them to gain insights, awareness and knowledge of the natural world. In simple terms, it allows the individual to respect the laws of nature.

From India's standpoint of view, children are increasingly alienating themselves from Nature for a host of reasons....peer pressure, crash courses in summer, etc. However, one must realize that the human costs of alienation from nature, among them diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.

We have posted pictures of the Pied Kingfisher which is commonly observed near small ponds and lakes. The pictures that you see were taken at Joe's Ecofriendly coffee Plantations, Sakleshpur, Karnataka state. More importantly, this fearless bird is quite adaptable to human behavior and one can watch the birds activities from a safe distance without disturbing it. Youngsters can learn from the birds behavior not only in terms of how it catches the fish, but also the way it eats its prey.

Distribution : The Pied Kingfisher is found widely distributed across Africa and Asia. In India it is distributed mainly on the plains. The Pied Kingfisher is estimated to be the world's third most common kingfisher, and being a noisy bird, hard to miss

Description : This is the only Kingfisher with all black and white plumage. the distinctive bird has white spotted, black upper parts and white under parts, with a broad band of black streaks on the upper breast and a narrow black bar below. There is a prominent white eyebrow and a black eye band that stretches to the back of the neck as well as a white throat and collar and a white patch on the wing coverts. The rump is barred black and white, the iris is brown and the feet and legs are black. The male Pied Kingfisher is distinguished from the female by the presence of two full breast bands with the female having just a single incomplete band.

A large headed, stout bodied and short legged bird with a straight, strong dagger like black bill. The bird is extremely agile in the air and hovers more often than any other king fisher's. In flight it holds the body almost vertical, with the head and bill angled sharply downwards, and beats the wings extremely rapidly. when perched , it frequently cocks it tail up and down and raises a crest of feathers on its head. This boldly patterned, black-and-white bird is the only kingfisher that regularly fishes offshore. Instead of watching for prey from a perch, as many other kingfisher species do, it flies rapidly above the surface with its head facing down as it scans the water below. If it spots food, it hovers on the spot, and then dives down to make a catch. It can also eat while in flight, another unique adaptation.

Habitat : The pied kingfisher occupies a variety of fresh and saltwater habitats, including large, inland, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, mangroves, tidal rock pools, lagoons, dams and reservoirs, requiring some water-side perches such as trees, reeds, fences and other man-made objects. It occurs up to altitudes of around 2,500 meters in Africa and 1,800 meters in Asia.

Status : The pied kingfisher is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List

Size : Length: 25 cm ,Male weight: 68 - 100 g, Female weight: 71 - 110 g

Diet : Primarily consist of fish, but they will also eat crustaceans and large aquatic insects, such as dragonfly larvae. It is the only King fisher which can hunt on salt and freshwater.

Breeding : The breeding season is February to April. Its nest is a hole excavated in a vertical mud bank about five feet above water. The nest tunnel is 4 to 5 feet deep and ends in a chamber. Several birds may nest in the same vicinity. The usual clutch is 3-6 white eggs. The pied kingfisher sometimes reproduces co-operatively, with young non-breeding birds from an earlier brood assisting parents or even unrelated older birds. In India, nesting's have been found to be prone to maggot infestations and in some areas to leeches. Nest holes may sometimes be used for roosting.

The pied kingfisher nests in holes in vertical sandbanks that are excavated by the breeding pair. The tunnel is around 1.2 meters in length and leads to a 20 to 30 centimeter wide chamber in which the nest is constructed. The tunnel takes around 26 days to excavate by stabbing with the open bill and kicking the sand out with the feet . Between one to seven, usually four or five, eggs are laid and incubated mainly by the female for around 18 days. The pied kingfisher is a cooperative breeder, meaning that the breeding adults are assisted by helpers in caring for the young. The helpers are usually one year old offspring of the breeding pair, but may also be other adults that have failed in breeding, and assist with tending the chicks and defending a territory around the nest. The chicks stay in the nest for 24 to 29 days, learning to hunt by 38 to 43 days of age, and becoming fully independent at 1 to 2 months. The pied kingfisher reaches sexual maturity at a year old but may not breed until its second or third year.

Threats : The pied Kingfisher which was once commonly observed near ponds and lakes has suffered declines due to pollution and chemical poisoning. By far the greatest threat is the disappearance of wetland habitats.

Conclusion : Children of all ages should experience the benefits of spending time with nature. Researchers suggest that children disconnected from nature and outdoor activity tend to suffer from physical and emotional health. For a fact, most adults who today enjoy outdoor activities, first learned them as Kids. Parents need to sacrifice time and take their children outdoors to explore the natural world. The time spent will be an investment for the future well being of the child. In our opinion, schools should play an proactive role in providing enough outdoor education or recreation to make children feel comfortable with nature.


Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira - Archives



Comments on this article
Dear Dr. Anand sir and Geetha madam , I solicit my indebtedness for devoting your precious time and hard efforts for Social, ,Nature and Nation concern thinking in educating the younger generation as Informal Ecological Reformer in enlightening how the nature interaction influence ,physical, mental, social, creative, physiological and psychological state of human being.
Your articles motivate the present modern concrete wall parents and teachers to educate informally their children about , nature , how nature stimulates the mind of children for creative ideas , comprehensive ideas in conserve the exploited nature/ ecology for future, which were thought by our beloved teachers between four walls and were only in books not in ution . The great Gnanapeeta awardees poets like Sri. KUVEMPU , Sri.SHIVARAM KARANTH and ecologist Sri.Salinm Ali many more were born and bought with nature and the nature thought them in imbibing creative thinking and made them as great personalities.
I had not seen the Kingfisher in close proximity and never white with black color. Yours photos are mind blowing, exactly reflects King Fisher habitat, behavior . The chronological actions in getting the prey is very amazing that, more than what we see in Animal Planet / National Geography channel . After seeing your photos I had close eyes and recollect photos that created an impression of motion video and as if I seeing in naked eyes . Many many thanks for your pain and devoting your precious time in getting precious photos for educating me and others.
Zoological description, habitat, physiological aspects are very informative to the Zoology students, common man and budding nature thinkers. The information about habitat and breeding that educate the every common human being eyes about how to take care of habitat , how to conserve and protect them for future generation . After reading your articles i came to know that Kingfisher also co-operative breeder just like Honey Bee and Termite. Thank for educating me in perpetuating the unknown facts to me and others.
Finally I prey with God , God may give super strength to both of you for future innovations, which bring Ecological Sustainability and enriches Nation Prosperity, so that we are all proud to say I AM AN INDIAN.
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Joe Britto, Nakre/BangaloreSunday, June 02, 2013
Yet another great bit of amazing photography by Dr Anand &
Dr. Geetha Pereira .

Pictures speak a thousand words !
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rakesh, sakleshpurSunday, June 02, 2013
nice work Anand !! :)
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G Fernandes, MangaloreFriday, May 31, 2013
Excellent article. Very informative and well detailed.
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M.Ahmed, MangaloreWednesday, May 29, 2013
Brilliant piece of writing. Keep it up.
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VASUDEV, MANGALOREWednesday, May 29, 2013
Dear anand n geetha , first of all namaste n hello to you both...pic worth for national geographic books .. even they might have not clicked such kind of photo graphic shots.. hats off to u both.. my both boys are thrilled by seeing this.. waiting for more...........:-)
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Its wonderful to see such a very good photograph , very gud click of bird which is very rare to find , and also thank u very much for the information very gud article to be read by every one
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Myke, AustraliaWednesday, May 29, 2013
Fantastic shots!! can't wait to see more Anand.
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Roshini/Ronnie Pinto, MangaloreWednesday, May 29, 2013
Thank you Anand and Geetha for all the troubles you take to enlighten our minds. Very informative indeed. Always thought kingfisher was of that particular combination. I love nature and you help me come much closer to it.
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Henry Mathias, KinnigoliTuesday, May 28, 2013
Dear Dr. Anand and Geetha Pereira,Very informative article. The photographs are really fantastic.The present generation needs your guidance and motivation to be closer to Mother Earth.
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The Pied Kingfisher, KollamTuesday, May 28, 2013
Thanks for sharing a great view of nature and the wild. It is sad that we are moving away from nature as the world moves forward.... one need to visit a zoo to have the first glance of even a popular bird or animal and such views must encourage them to look beyond the tiny screens. Best wishes.
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Anil & Melita, Mangalore/ UAETuesday, May 28, 2013
Anand & Geet...
As always your articles are inspiring, just like you both! Thank you for creating awareness about the beauty of God's creation and for reminding us of about what truly matters. And... keep it coming, we need you to make us pause in this rat race and enjoy nature's bounty!
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Ashok Frank, Mangalore / TorontoTuesday, May 28, 2013
Thank you Anand and Geeta for this inspiring article with awesome pictures. As Naveen righlty says it inspires us adults even more as we saw nature only through our naked eyes and almost dismissed its beauty . But now with the new technology it has made us wonder the real beauty and essence of GOD s wonderful creation .
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Ivan Frank & Fly., MangaloreTuesday, May 28, 2013
Excellent description with appropriate pictures of Pied Kingfisher. It is a treat for the eyes to watch it diving vertically down bill-first to capture fish from a pond or a lake. I love to watch this bird and to listen to the sound it makes.
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Yashas , BangaloreTuesday, May 28, 2013
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Dr Kuldeep Dmello, Mangalore / GoaTuesday, May 28, 2013
Dr Anand, its a very nice article. Im a wild life photographer too shooting all over the world. Would lovde to keep in touch with you. You can email me on goasmiles@gmail.com . we also run a company called wild escapades which undertakes wild life photography tours in India and Abroad. Our next tour is Tanzania for wildlife. Please feel free to contact me. Looking forward to meet you. I got a decent collection of different rare varieties King Fishers shot in different places in India.
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ad, mangloorTuesday, May 28, 2013
Great work to inspire the young and restless who pay more attention to unnatural stuff than our nature.
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Tony Crasta, Sydney/MangaloreTuesday, May 28, 2013
Great work Drs. Anand and Geeta. I used to bird watch in my younger days and brought back quite a few memories. In fact I used to hate the this bird because it snatched away quite a few fish stock from our ponds and streams. Thanks for the nice article and wonderful photography.
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Harsha Paul, MangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
"Gud and rare pics. Great work Anand!"
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florine roche, MangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
Brilliant Dr Anand and Geetha. The pictures u have captured tell the story in thousand ways. Keep up the good work come out such gems often
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Chittiappa, PonnampetMonday, May 27, 2013
Our coffee plantation is very close to Nagarahole game sanctuary and i never miss an opportunity to walk into the wild with my digital cam. The articles on wildlife and the message for all asking them to devote time outdoors is a nice way of reducing stress and leading healthy lifestyles. Thank you for spending your valuable time for the benefit of mankind
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Mohan Frank, Mangalore/ MumbaiMonday, May 27, 2013
Dr. Anand & Dr.Geeta,
Its a lovely article with fantastic photographs difficult to believe they are clicked at a place where i spent my childhood days during my holidays.I, till date only knew about the pied piper but pied Kingfisher i just d myself.Great work thank you for the wonderful article which Iam sure will inspire the youth to spend their time valuably!
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ryan dsa, mangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
amazing skills. very talented. would love to go outdoors in search of this bird. as a student,would love to make a project on flora nd fauna
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Ludger D'Souza, BangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
Very interesting indeed! Never seen kingfisher eating its prey before! Super photos...and yes, kids definitely need to spend more time outdoors and absorb nature. Ipods and other gizmos are destroying their formative years!
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romola, Mangalore/SakleshpurMonday, May 27, 2013
awesome pics.continue your good work
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The Pied Kingfisher, New DelhiMonday, May 27, 2013
Excellent article and beautiful pictures. Your love for nature is inspiring.
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flavian, chik/banagloreMonday, May 27, 2013
good article. our chilldren should be taught nature conservation and how important it is to understand and stay close to nature inorder to learn from it and make life easy. I had the previlage of shooting wet birds with an ace photographer by name Mohan munivenktappa who taught me many things about birds
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Samir Puthalakath, MelbourneMonday, May 27, 2013
You are so cool, dude!
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Stanley Noronha, Mangalore/KuwaitMonday, May 27, 2013
Very interesting and informative article. Really enjoying your articles, nice photos too. Thank you for writing. Very good advise for all in the 'Conclusion'. All the best.
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Prashant, PuneMonday, May 27, 2013
Great pictures and nice article Anand. I like your message to parents that it is very important to push children to get out of their homes and explore at least their surroundings.
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Naveen Frank, Mangalore/SharjahMonday, May 27, 2013
Dear Anand and Geetha,
Your article not only inspires children but also grown up individuals like me. The write-up on the Pied Kingfisher made interesting reading and the pictures were equally amazing. Amidst the humdrum of the busy city life, we fail to notice the little flower on the curbside, the little bird’s chirping outside our window . Thank you both for your contributions that help us to tune ourselves to nature in small ways. I must admit, I have slowly learnt to admire and cherish the wonders of nature that are around me. Continue to inspire us with more such articles.

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John Texeira , MysoreMonday, May 27, 2013
Thanks a lot for the mail regarding Kingfisher.I have mostly seen kingfishers with blue colors.....

but this time you enlighten me with a BLACK AND WHITE ?
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V.Baretto, Bantwal-BangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
worth seen by children. Very interesting article for those who love nature.
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Dr.C.K.Suresh, BangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
Rare to see such birds within city limits. As parents we can encourage children to go outdoors and observe nature at close quarters. The facts and figures pertaining to the pied kingfisher makes good reading.
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Malcom.R, BangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
Excellent theme. Children need to get out and see and feel nature. Only then will they open their eyes and be protective of nature
Very good photographs. Thank you both Dr.Anand and geeta
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Belliappa.K,, Virajpet/KodaguMonday, May 27, 2013
Spotted the pied kingfisher many a times near ponds and streams close to our coffee plantation. Only king fisher which can eat its prey while in flight. Very informative article .Thank you drAnand Geeta and daiji for sharing.
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Umesh, BangaloreMonday, May 27, 2013
Brilliant photographs and a article worth reading a hundred times. Nice way of motivating youngsters to get outdoors and explore the wild.
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payal, mangaloreSunday, May 26, 2013
thank you for bringing us close to nature.
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