Banded Kingfisher Bird: Profile, Facts, Sound, Song, Weight

banded kingfisher

The banded kingfisher, scientifically known as Lacedo pulchella, is a fascinating tree kingfisher that thrives in the lush lowland tropical forests of Southeast Asia. This striking bird is unique, being the only member of its genus, Lacedo. Its vibrant plumage and distinctive call make it a noteworthy resident of these dense forests. This article will give an overview of the banded kingfisher call, sound, bird, Thailand, Malaysia, song, facts, weight, etc.

Despite its widespread presence, the banded kingfisher is not evenly distributed across its range. For instance, it is relatively rare on the island of Java, where it faces significant threats. On Sumatra, sightings are even more uncommon, and in Singapore, the species has unfortunately become extinct. The bird’s survival in these regions is precarious, reflecting the broader environmental challenges facing many forest-dwelling species in Southeast Asia.

Banded Kingfisher Bird: Profile, Facts, Sound, Song, Weight

The Javan blue-banded kingfisher, known scientifically as Alcedo euryzona, is a remarkable bird that holds the distinction of being endemic to Java Island. This means it is found nowhere else in the world. First described by the naturalist Temminck in 1830, this kingfisher has intrigued ornithologists and bird enthusiasts alike for nearly two centuries. Unlike its relative, the banded kingfisher, the Javan blue-banded kingfisher faces a much more critical situation.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, this species is listed as Critically Endangered. The stark reality is that fewer than 250 mature individuals are believed to remain in the wild, making every sighting a rare and significant event. This precarious status highlights the urgent need for conservation efforts to protect the remaining habitats of this exquisite bird.

Importance of Biodiversity Preservation

Preserving the biodiversity of tropical forests is not only crucial for the survival of species like the banded kingfisher and the Javan blue-banded kingfisher but also for the health of the entire ecosystem. These birds play a vital role in their habitats, contributing to the control of insect populations and the dispersal of seeds. The loss of such species can lead to imbalances that affect numerous other plants and animals within the ecosystem.

Additionally, tropical forests are important for human communities, providing resources such as food, medicine, and materials. They also play a significant role in climate regulation by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Protecting these forests and their inhabitants is therefore essential for maintaining the intricate balance of nature and supporting the livelihoods of millions of people.

Distinctive Plumage of Male and Female Banded Kingfishers

The male and female banded kingfishers exhibit striking differences in their plumage, making it relatively easy to distinguish between the two. The male is particularly eye-catching, with a vibrant blue crown adorned with intricate black and blue banding on its back. This vivid coloration is a standout feature, helping to identify the male in its dense forest habitat.

In contrast, the female’s plumage is more subdued but no less distinctive, featuring rufous and black banding on the head and upperparts. This coloration provides effective camouflage against the forest backdrop, which is essential for protecting herself and her nest from predators. These plumage differences are not just for show but play a crucial role in the survival and reproductive strategies of these birds.

Rare Sightings and Elusive Nature

Since the 1930s, the banded kingfisher has been recorded only twice, with the most recent sightings in Gunung Halimun National Park in June 2009. This rare occurrence might not solely reflect the actual population size but also the bird’s elusive nature and preference for remote habitats.

The banded kingfisher is known for its shy behavior, often staying hidden in dense foliage, which makes it challenging for birdwatchers and researchers to spot. Its preference for distant and undisturbed areas further complicates efforts to study and monitor the species. This under-recording suggests that while the species is undoubtedly rare, there may be more individuals out there than current records indicate.

Evolutionary History and Distinct Lineage

The banded kingfisher belongs to the Alcedinidae family, a group of kingfishers that diverged from other bird species approximately 26.9 million years ago. This ancient lineage highlights the long evolutionary history that these birds have experienced, adapting to various environmental changes over millions of years. More specifically, the banded kingfisher itself diverged from its closest relatives about 7.95 million years ago during the Neogene period.

This period of divergence marks a significant point in its evolutionary history, leading to the unique adaptations and characteristics we observe in the species today. Such an extensive evolutionary background underscores the importance of conserving this species as a living relic of natural history.

Declining Populations and Habitat Loss

The banded kingfisher is suspected to be undergoing a continuous population decline, primarily due to the significant loss of its natural habitat. Across its range, deforestation and habitat fragmentation have dramatically reduced the extent of suitable environments for these birds. Human activities such as agriculture expansion, urban development, and uncontrolled fires have exacerbated this decline.

The demand for natural resources driven by growing human populations adds immense pressure on these forests, further diminishing the kingfisher’s habitat. This ongoing habitat loss is a critical factor contributing to the decreasing numbers of this species, threatening its long-term survival.

Urgent Need for Population Surveys

Given the few recorded sightings and the presumed small and declining subpopulations, it is crucial to conduct detailed population surveys of the banded kingfisher. While the species does occur in protected areas like Gunung Halimun National Park, the exact population size and distribution remain unclear. Clarifying the current population status is essential for developing effective conservation strategies.

These surveys should be a high priority to ensure that conservation efforts are accurately targeted and effective. By making this species a key focus during surveys, conservationists can better understand its needs and implement measures to protect it more effectively.

Future Prospects and Actions

Looking to the future, the survival of the banded kingfisher and the Javan blue-banded kingfisher will depend on a combination of scientific research, effective conservation strategies, and community engagement. Researchers need to continue studying these birds to better understand their behaviors, breeding patterns, and ecological needs. Conservationists must work on creating and enforcing laws that protect critical habitats from further destruction.

Engaging local communities in conservation efforts is also crucial, as their support can lead to more sustainable land-use practices and greater protection for these species. International cooperation and funding can provide the necessary resources for these efforts. By taking these steps, we can hope to see a resurgence in the populations of these stunning kingfishers, ensuring that they continue to grace the forests of Southeast Asia for generations to come.

Conservation Status and Challenges

The conservation status of both the banded kingfisher and the Javan blue-banded kingfisher underscores the urgent challenges facing these birds. Habitat destruction, primarily due to deforestation and land conversion for agriculture, poses the most significant threat. In Java, extensive logging and the spread of palm oil plantations have devastated the natural habitats of these birds.

As a result, the population of the Javan blue-banded kingfisher has plummeted to critical levels. Similarly, the banded kingfisher, while more widespread, suffers from habitat fragmentation and degradation. Conservation efforts must focus on protecting and restoring their natural habitats, establishing protected areas, and implementing sustainable land-use practices. Education and awareness programs are also vital to garner local and international support for these initiatives. Without concerted action, the future of these beautiful kingfishers remains uncertain.

Banded Kingfisher Bird: Profile, Facts, Sound, Song, Weight

Banded Kingfisher Description

The banded kingfisher is a small but striking bird, measuring about 20 cm (7.9 inches) in length. It boasts a sturdy purple bill and a short crest, which it can raise and lower slowly, adding a touch of animation to its appearance. This species exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism, meaning that males and females have distinctly different plumages.

The adult male is particularly eye-catching with a chestnut forehead, cheeks, and nape, topped with a vibrant blue cap. The rest of its upper parts, including the wings and tail, are adorned with black and blue bands. The breast, flanks, and undertail are rufous, providing a warm contrast to its otherwise blue and black coloration. In contrast, the central belly is a stark white, making the male banded kingfisher a vivid presence in its forest habitat.

Female Banded Kingfisher

The adult female banded kingfisher is equally striking but in a different palette. She sports black-and-rufous-banded upperparts, which offer excellent camouflage among the forest foliage. Her underparts are primarily white, accented with some black bars on the chest and flanks. These markings provide a beautiful, albeit more subdued, counterpart to the male’s bright plumage. Juvenile-banded kingfishers are duller than adults, irrespective of sex.

They feature a brown and orange bill and display dusky barring on their underparts, which gradually transition to the more distinctive adult plumage as they mature. Despite their less vibrant appearance, young banded kingfishers still possess a charm of their own, hinting at the stunning adults they will become.

Distinctive Call

The call of the banded kingfisher is a distinctive feature of this species. It begins with a long, whistled “wheeeoo,” followed by a series of about 15 repetitions of “chiwiu” over 17 seconds. The second syllable of this call gradually fades away, creating a unique auditory pattern that is easily recognizable once heard. Interestingly, the banded kingfisher is known to respond to imitations of its call, making it possible for birdwatchers and researchers to attract them using mimicry. This vocal behavior not only aids in communication between individuals but also plays a crucial role during the breeding season.

Distribution and Habitat

The banded kingfisher is native to a wide range of Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, and Brunei. Sadly, it is extinct in Singapore, where habitat loss has eradicated its presence. Typically, this species is found in forested areas, favoring habitats near rocky or slow-flowing streams and larger rivers. It predominantly resides in lowland forests but can be found at elevations up to 1,500 meters. The sedentary nature of the banded kingfisher means it tends to remain within a particular area throughout its life, relying on the stability and resources of its habitat.

Diet and Breeding

The diet of the banded kingfisher is mainly piscivorous, meaning it primarily eats fish. However, it is not exclusively a fish eater; its diet also includes crustaceans, insects, and small reptiles, reflecting its opportunistic feeding habits. This diverse diet ensures that it can survive in various conditions, as long as water bodies are present to provide its primary food sources.

Breeding typically occurs from March to April, a period when food availability is high, supporting the nutritional needs of the young birds. During this time, the banded kingfisher engages in nesting and rearing its young, contributing to the continuation of its species despite the numerous challenges it faces in its natural habitat.

Habitat and Altitudinal Range

The banded kingfisher is a bird of the lowland rainforest, predominantly found up to altitudes of 1,100 meters in most parts of its range. However, in Brunei, this adaptable bird can be spotted at elevations as high as 1,700 meters. These variations in altitude demonstrate the bird’s flexibility in different environments within the rainforest biome.

Unlike many other kingfisher species, the banded kingfisher does not require pools or streams within its territory. This trait allows it to inhabit a wider range of forested areas, including those not directly adjacent to water bodies, thereby increasing its chances of survival in various forest habitats.

Nesting Habits

The nesting habits of the banded kingfisher are unique. This bird prefers to nest in holes found in rotting tree trunks, which provide a secure and hidden environment for raising its young. Interestingly, it sometimes utilizes the round nests built by tree termites, showcasing its resourcefulness. The female lays between two to five white eggs, depending on the availability of resources and environmental conditions.

In Thailand, the breeding season occurs from February to May, aligning with the period when food is most abundant. This timing ensures that the young have the best chance of survival, benefiting from the peak availability of insects and other prey. Business – Money Making – Marketing – E-commerce

Diet and Hunting Behavior

The banded kingfisher primarily hunts large insects and occasionally small lizards, showcasing its versatile diet. It typically captures its prey from the trees, employing a strategy that leverages its keen eyesight and agile flight.

However, it is also known to hunt from the ground, adapting its hunting techniques based on the availability of prey. This dietary flexibility is crucial for its survival, particularly in forest environments where food sources can vary significantly. The ability to hunt both arboreally and terrestrially allows the banded kingfisher to exploit a broader range of food sources, making it a successful predator in its diverse rainforest habitat.

Other Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *