Friday, December 23

Blue-eared kingfisher

   ›      ›   Blue-eared kingfisher - Alcedo meninting.

The blue-eared kingfisher (Alcedo meninting), belongs to the family of small to medium-sized, brightly colored birds, Alcedinidae.

These kingfisher species are distributed in India, Nepal, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines. The blue-eared kingfisher species are river kingfishers. There are six recognized subspecies of these kingfishers.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Blue-eared kingfisher - Overview

  • Scientific name: Alcedo meninting
  • Species author: Horsfield, 1821
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Alcedo Meninting Horsfield, 1821,
  • Family: Alcedinidae › Coraciiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Blue-eared kingfisher, Chinese: 蓝耳翠鸟, French: Martin-pêcheur méninting, German: Menintingeisvogel, Spanish: Martín pescador meninting, Russian: Синеухий зимородок, Japanese: ルリカワセミ, Indonesian: Burung Raja-udang Meninting
  • Other names: Blue-eared Kingfisher, Malaysian Kingfisher
  • Distribution: India, Nepal, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines
  • Diet and feeding habits: fish, frogs, crustaceans, larvae and nymphs of insects
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The blue-eared kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) is closely related to Alcedo hercules, Alcedo quadribrachys and Alcedo semitorquata.
The six recognized subspecies are: A. m. coltarti E. C. S. Baker, 1919, A. m. phillipsi E. C. S. Baker, 1927, A. m. rufigastra Walden, 1873, A. m. scintillans E. C. S. Baker, 1919, A. m. verreauxii De La Berge, 1851 and A. m. meninting Horsfield, 1821.

Appearance, physical description and identification

The blue-eared kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) is a small bird, measuring 16 to 17 cm in length and weighing 15 to 24 grams.
The overall plumage of blue-eared kingfisher is bluish on the upperparts and rufous on the underparts. The crown, nape and face are bright ultramarine. The crown is closely banded with darker ultramarine striations. There is a rufous frontal spot in males. On both the sides of the neck, there is white blaze. Their distinguishing feature is bluish ear stripe. The chin and throat are whitish.

The blue-eared kingfisher is very similar to common kingfisher. The distinguishing characteristic is the ear stripe. The ear stripe is bluish in the former whereas it is rufous in the later. In blue-eared kingfisher, the crown and upperparts are colored darker and richer ultramarine and the underparts are darker reddish brown.

The adult males have dark bill with white tip and the females have a reddish lower mandible. The irises are black. The feet are reddish in color. Their call is a single high pitched “trreee-tee” sound.
Indian birds - Image of Blue-eared kingfisher - Alcedo meninting
Birds of India - Picture of Blue-eared kingfisher - Alcedo meninting
Birds of India - Photo Blue-eared kingfisher - Alcedo meninting
Indian birds - Image of Blue-eared kingfisher - Alcedo meninting by Bernard DUPONT
Indian birds - Picture of Blue-eared kingfisher - Alcedo meninting
Birds of India - Photo of Blue-eared kingfisher - Alcedo meninting by Mike Prince

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These blue-eared kingfisher species are distributed in India, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.

The blue-eared kingfisher subspecies A. m. coltarti is distributed in foothills of Himalayas from central Nepal to Assam in India, eastern India along the northern Eastern Ghats, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The subspecies A. m. phillipsi is distributed in southwestern India, along the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka. The subspecies A. m. scintillansris is distributed in southern Myanmar and southern Thailand.

The blue-eared kingfisher subspecies A. m. meninting is distributed in Indonesian islands, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Banggai and Sula. The subspecies A. m. verreauxii is distributed in southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia (Riau Archipelago, Bangka, Belitung and Borneo) and Philippines (Palawan and Sulu Islands). The subspecies A. m. rufigastra is distributed in Andaman Islands.

Ecosystem and habitat

These blue-eared kingfisher species have low forest dependency. They inhabit various artificial and natural ecosystems with proximity to water. The blue-eared kingfishers inhabit plantations near natural or man made water canals and rural and also urban gardens and parks with water bodies.

These blue-eared kingfisher species are found in tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, tropical and subtropical mangrove forests, tropical and subtropical wetlands, wetlands with rivers, streams or creeks and shallow marine estuaries. These blue-eared kingfishers occur in altitudes from 0 to 1000 meters.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these kingfisher species is mostly fish. Small fish, crustaceans, dragonfly nymphs and aquatic insects are the primary food. They have been observed to prey on grasshoppers and mantis. The kingfisher perches on a branch of a tree overhanging densely shaded slow moving stream or river. On locating its prey, it dives into water. After catching the prey, it flies back to its perch. After battering the prey on the branch to death, the kingfisher swallows it head first.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these blue-eared kingfisher species is from April to August in northern India, with a peak period in May and June. The breeding season is from April to July in Myanmar. Their nest is a meter long tunnel excavated in the bank of a stream. The clutch has about 5 to 7 white spherical eggs.

Migration and movement patterns

These blue-eared kingfisher species are non-migratory, sedentary and resident birds.
Post breeding dispersal of the juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the blue-eared kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) is not quantified. The overall population size of these species is considered to be on the decline. Throughout its ranges the kingfisher is reported to be widespread but seldom common. The generation length is 4.4 years.

The blue-eared kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. Riverine habitat loss is the main threat that may endanger the survival of these species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the kingfisher species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the blue-eared kingfisher (Alcedo meninting).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Alcedo meninting
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Coraciiformes
Family:Alcedinidae
Subfamily:Alcedininae
Genus:Alcedo
Species:A. meninting
Binomial name:Alcedo meninting
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue-eared_kingfisher.jpg
Image author: Anupdeodhar2016 | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue-eared_Kingfisher_(Alcedo_meninting)_(8071061758).jpg
Image author: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE | License: CC BY-SA 2.0
3.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeprince/14157548584/
Image author: Mike Prince | License: CC BY 2.0 (ason 2016-12-22)
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