Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Alcedo meninting Horsfield, 1821

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Coraciiformes
Family:Alcedinidae
Genus:Alcedo
Species:A. meninting
Common Names:Blue-eared Kingfisher, Deep Blue Kingfisher, Binti-Binti, Burung Pekaka Bintik-bintik
Status:Rare resident

Description

A small kingfisher with deep blue upperparts and dark rufous underparts.

Adult male: The lores are pale rufous, edged with an oval of black, the black extending to base of bill. Ear coverts deep blue, with a large creamy white streak behind the ear coverts, extending to the back of the head. Crown and nape barred with deep blue and black. The back is cobalt-blue, darker on the rump and uppertail coverts. The tail is black, washed heavily with dark blue.  Scapulars are dark ultramarine blue. Primaries, primary coverts and secondaries black. Secondaries edged with dark blue. Greater coverts black, edged broadly on outer webs with dark blue. Median and lesser coverts black, tipped metallic blue, giving a spotted look. The bend of the shoulder is rufous. Chin and throat rufous white. Remaining underparts, including undertail coverts, deep rufous orange.

The adult female is similar to the male but tend to have more rufous orange on the sides of the head and have a red lower mandible (Robinson, 1927, 1928).

Immatures are duller; the blue is less intense and the underparts paler.

Soft parts: Iris dark brown. Tarsus and toes orange. Claws orangy brown. Upper mandible black. Lower mandible blackish brown. Base of both mandibles is red. The lower mandible of the female is almost entirely red. The mandibles of younger birds have whitish tips.

Size: 15–16 cm; Weight: 17.5 g; Bill: 38.2 mm; Tarsus: 9.8 mm; Wing: 65 mm; Tail: 27 mm

Resembles the Common Kingfisher but has a much deeper blue plumage and blue ear coverts.

Read more about the Coraciiformes order.
Read more about the Alcedinidae family.

Distribution

This subspecies is found in Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra, Rhio Islands, Banka, Billiton and Borneo.

Localities

Mainly confined to the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (mostly in MacRitchie). Also recorded in Poyan, Pulau Tekong, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Locality Map

General Biology

Often sits quietly on a perch over a small forest stream. Formerly found in small numbers, near and in the more heavily wooded areas (Gibson-Hill, 1949b).

One bird renewing P1, P5 and P10 was taken on 15 April; moult in other tracts was observed in March, Aug and Oct. (Medway & Wells, 1976).

Diet

Eats mainly fish.

Life Cycle

The nest was not discovered in Singapore until 2009, when an attempt to nest failed. A pair took up at a stream bank in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, very close to the walkway. Tunneling was done by both adults, each taking turn and resting on a branch nearby. The nesting failed, possibly due to human disturbance as the area is frequented by joggers, nature lovers.

Chasen (1939) reported that in Lower Perak, a nesting site was described as a steep bank of a deep drain-cutting in red, loamy soil, on the boundary of a village and flat jungle. The tunnel was 61 cm long and about 3.8 cm in diameter. Three eggs are laid and have fine-textured, highly glossy and rounded.  The average measurement of the egg was 20 x 16.8 mm.  The birds had begun to excavate, and then abandoned three other tunnels, close together and near to the finally selected tunnel.  A fifth tunnel appears to have been used in a previous year.  Perak eggs are dated February and May.

Records

Infrequently seen in Singapore. 1 ringed at Sime forest, 17 Nov 1974 and MacRitchie, 9 Mar 1975 by the Singapore Branch Bird Study Group (Hails, 1988). One bird reported on P Tekong Besar on 17 Jan 2002 (OBC Bull. 35) and heard a few times in Jun, Jul 2002 (OBC Bull. 36). An adult seen at Poyan, 10 Feb 2002 (OBC Bull. 36) and 1 juvenile female ringed at SBWR on 20 Mar 2002 (SINAV 16-1) were rare records away from the central forests and could be stray birds from Johor.

Formal records of Alcedo meninting collected from Singapore:
American Natural History Museum: 1 (1 AA)
British Musuem: 2 (1 FF, 1 MM)
United States National Museum: 1 (1 AA)
University of Washington Burke Museum: 1 (1 FF)

Other Resources

Ng, M. 2009. Nesting of the Blue-eared Kingfisher in Singaporehttp://www.besgroup.org/2009/05/18/nesting-of-the-blue-eared-kingfisher-in-singapore/. (Accessed December 2011).

Sreedharan, S. Birds of Singapore: Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting). http://singaporebirds.net/npassers_01/blue-eared_kingfisher.html. (Accessed December 2011).

References

Chasen, F. N., 1939. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. IV: The Birds of the Low-country Jungle and Scrub. H. F. & G. Witherby Ltd., London. 487 pp.

Gibson-Hill, C. A., 1949a. An annotated checklist of the birds of Malaya. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, 20: 5–299.

Gibson-Hill, C. A., 1949b. A checklist of the birds of Singapore Island. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, 21: 132–183.

Hails, C. J., 1988. An annotated checklist of the birds of Singapore. Unpublished.

King, B. F., E. C. Dickinson & M. W. Woodcock, 1975. Birds of South-east Asia. Harper Collins Publishers, London. 480 pp.

Medway, Lord & D. R. Wells, 1976. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. V: Conclusion, and Survey of Every Species. H. F. & G. Witherby, London. 448 pp.

Robinson, H. C., 1927. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. I: The Commoner Birds. H. F. & G. Witherby, London. 329 pp.

Robinson, H. C., 1928. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. II: The Birds of the Hill Stations. H. F. & G. Witherby, London. 310 pp.

Wang, L. K., 2011. Kingfishers. Pp. 355. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L. K. & C. J. Hails, 2007. An annotated checklist of the birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179.

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