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  • Writer's pictureChinmayi Ramasubramanian

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

This tiny bird is vividly coloured with a long red bill. It has a blue back and orange underparts. Its head is reddish-pink with blue and white patches on the neck. It is usually found near very small hill streams but usually stays away from water. This bird can expertly manoeuvre through dense vegetation.

(This pic is a bit dull as it was taken in low lighting. The bird is usually much more brightly coloured.)

We saw this bird in Thattekad, Kerala. We were heading back to the homestay after a bird walk (A very successful one - we saw bay owl and trogans along with many other birds), when we spotted this bird. It was inside a very thick foliage inside a farm. It flew away very quickly after we appeared, but we managed to take a few photos (but only 1 good one).

These birds are very clever (unlike a few humans in the world) when it comes to building nests. Both the male and the female excavate a long horizontal tunnel that ends in an unlined egg chamber. These birds are fairly fast at digging this tunnel. Both the tunnel and the egg chamber are inclined upwards, to direct the flow of water and waste out of the tunnels (like I said - clever).

Right now these birds are of Least Concern by the IUCN, but that is swiftly changing as many of their forest habitats are being cut down. As they can't survive anywhere except in dense vegetation (or captivity - but that's cruel), their population is slowly dwindling.



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