13 August 2015

Collared Kingfisher – Red Sea Mangroves

The Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris is a common breeding resident of Mangrove stands in the Red Sea coast from Amaq south to Sabya. Birds probably occur further north and south but have not been proved there as of yet. Recently I checked a number of good mangrove areas between Either, west of Sabya, and Amaq, north of Al Birk, and found Kingfishers in all of them. This is very encouraging as this is a habitat and range restricted species in Saudi Arabia. Collared Kingfisher is a common breeding resident in southwest Saudi Arabian Mangrove forests, but has a restricted range and a preference for habitat that is under serious threat in the Kingdom. The subspecies occurring in Saudi Arabia is currently recorded as T. c. abyssinicus that occurs from the southern Red Sea coasts from north-east Sudan to north-west Somalia and in to western Arabia. It is a medium-sized kingfisher with variable plumage pattern with the male showing a white supraloral spot and a black mask extending in a narrow band across hindneck, white collar, greenish-blue crown and upperparts, brighter blue rump, blue wings and tail and white underparts. The upper mandible is grey-black with the lower mandible yellowish-horn with dark brown cutting edges and tip. The female has slightly duller plumage. The birds have a loud, ringing or harsh “kee-kee-kee-kee” call, repeated 3–5 times and can perch for long periods, with little activity, 1–3 metres above the ground. They feed mainly on crustaceans such as crabs but also on small fish.