Pelargopsis capensis, Photo: Michael Lahanas
Pelargopsis capensis (Linnaeus, 1766)
Systema Naturae ed.12 p.180
Pelargopsis capensis burmanica
The Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis (formerly Halcyon capensis), is a tree kingfisher which is widely but sparsely distributed in tropical south Asia from India and Sri Lanka to Indonesia. This kingfisher is essentially resident throughout its range.
This is a very large kingfisher, 35 cm in length. The adult has a green back, blue wings and tail, and grey head. Its underparts and neck are buff. The very large bill and legs are bright red. The flight of the Stork-billed Kingfisher is laboured and flapping, but direct. Sexes are similar. There are 15 races, mostly differing in plumage detail, but P. c. gigantea of the Sulu Islands has a white head, neck and underparts. The call of this noisy kingfisher is a low and far reaching peer-por-por repeated every 5 seconds or so as well cackling ke-ke-ke-ke-ke-ke.
Stork-billed Kingfisher is a species of a variety of well-wooded habitats near lakes, rivers or coasts. It perches quietly whilst seeking food, and is often inconspicuous despite its size. It is territorial and will chase away eagles and other large predators. This species hunts fish, frogs, crabs, rodents and young birds.
Stork-billed Kingfisher digs its nest in a river bank, decaying tree, or a tree termite nest. A clutch of two to five round white eggs is typical.
* BirdLife International (2004). Pelargopsis capensis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
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