Mother Nature’s creativity knows no bounds regarding her exquisite creatures. When we believe we’ve seen her finest masterpieces, she surprises us with yet another marvel. Enter the banded kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella), a delightful avian adorned with a knitting beret-like plumage that will awaken you.
The banded kingfisher is predominantly found in the lowland tropical forests of Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, and Brunei. Regrettably, this species has been declared extinct in Singapore. It prefers to inhabit various levels of the forest, often at mid-height to low, where it skillfully conceals itself, making detection challenging.
Source: Wolfe R, Phetchaburi, Thailand
With its brilliant plumage and eye-catching appearance, the banded kingfisher is truly a sight to behold. The male boasts bright blue feathers, complemented by an orange face, white chin, light orange breast, and striking black-and-blue banded wings and tail. On the other hand, the female sports tiger-like stripes across her entire body, featuring captivating patterns of orange and black.
Contrary to its name, the banded kingfisher relies on something other than fishing for sustenance. While it does indulge in hunting giant insects and occasionally feeding on small lizards, it primarily captures its prey within the trees rather than near bodies of water. Therefore, it only depends on habitats near pools, lakes, or streams like other kingfisher species.
Regarding communication, the banded kingfisher reveals its presence through a distinctive and haunting whistle, characterized by a long “whoop” followed by a series of mellow whistles “chewie.” Remarkably, if one can imitate these calls accurately, the bird may respond, unable to discern the difference.
The banded kingfisher’s breeding behaviour and mating rituals remain elusive to ornithologists. These birds skillfully blend with their surroundings, making it challenging to gather comprehensive information about their nesting habits and courtship behaviours.
Despite being an uncommon species, the banded kingfisher’s population remains stable, earning it the “Least Concern” classification on the IUCN Red List. Its remarkable beauty, reminiscent of a knitted toy, captivates the hearts of nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike.
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