Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Belonging to the family Alcidinidae, the Common Kingfisher is the smallest of all. Commonly found in Europe and Asia, it is also referred to as Eurasian Kingfisher, River Kingfisher etc. In Bengali language, it is known as “Pati Machhranga” etc.
Where could you find the Common Kingfisher in Kolkata?
You should not be mislead by the word ‘common’ when you hear the name of the bird as the Common Kingfisher has rare sightings. At most of the birding locations of the city such as Central Park, Rabindra Sarobar, Rajarhat it could be spotted.
When should you photograph the Common Kingfisher?
Morning time is preferably the best time to shoot this bird when the rays of the sun fall on the vibrant coloured body of the Common Kingfisher. It is a very shy bird; hence easily frightened by any type of movement. Since the bird is not approachable be careful when you try to capture the images of the bird in your camera.
Photographing the Common Kingfisher, characteristics, breeding and the necessary details:
The Common Kingfisher is a colourful bird having bright blue upper part with white spots on it while the under-part is chest-nut red in colour. At the throat it has slight white colour. The beak is larger compared to the entire body while the tail is very short. The male and female bird is almost identical. The male species has a complete black beak whereas the females possesses a beak black in colour with tinges of red near the base of the beak. The juvenile is similar to the adult, but with duller and greener upperparts and paler under parts.
The vertical banks of a river, pond or canal are their hotspot places for nesting. Fish is their main diet. Besides being an expert fish catcher, it is also a rapid flyer. Breeding occurs from February to August, with most activity during the period from April to July. During the breeding season they call loudly in the mornings from prominent perches including the tops of buildings in urban areas or on wires.
Common Kingfisher call: The flight call is a short sharp whistle, chee, repeated two or three times. Anxious birds emit a harsh, shrit-it-it and nestlings call for food with a churring noise.
Photographing the Common Kingfisher was overwhelming for me especially when it is a rare species at Central Park, Kolkata. Sometimes first timers confuse it with the Blue-eared Kingfisher. There are two main races of the bird namely Benghalensis and Taprobana.I was blessed enough to capture the images of both the species. The other two kinds of Kingfishers
visible in this area are White Breasted Kingfisher and Stork Billed Kingfisher.