Black-capped Kingfisher   Halcyon pileata


  • Halcyon : Greekmythical bird which nested on the sea. It was loved by the gods, who calmed the waves whilst it incubated and raised its young.
  • Pileata : Latin word for Capped derived from pileus – felt-cap.

 Vernacular Names: Hindi: Kourilla, Ablak tanki kilkila, Sans: Krishna meelran, Bi: Ablak tanki, Guj: Vanakhadino kalkaliyo, Shyamshir kalkaliyo, Mar: Kalya topicha khandya/ Dhivar, Kan: Kappu taleya meenchulli

Distribution in India: Resident of Coastal India.

Description: Size of 28 cm. It is a medium-sized kingfisher. Both sexes have black head, white collar and throat, mainly purple-blue upperparts, blue tail with black underside, pale orange-rufous underparts; white patch on primary bases conspicuous in flight; bill red with sharp-edged, lacerately toothed tomia; iris is dark brown; legs and feet are dark red.

Habitat: It is found in deciduous forest near water, wooded river­banks, and pools in forest streams. In the tropics and subtropics found both on the coast, in mangroves and on wooded seashores, and inland, in creeks, lagoons, estuaries, rice fields, open cultivated land, Nipa palm groves, willow jungle, forest clearings, and streams in bamboo-forest. Found mostly in lowlands, up to 1525 m.

Food Habits:It eats marine and freshwater fish, crabs and other crustaceans, but also takes frogs, lizards, rodents, young birds, also insects and insect larvae. It uses a number of conspicuous perches to survey surroundings, frequently changing position or perch. It flies out to catch an insect in foliage or on the ground, or to take prey from water. It moves on to sandflats and mudflats at low tide to catch crabs.

Breeding Habits: They breed in April-May India.The nest is excavated in a riverbank, or decayed tree trunk, or ground or arboreal termitarium. Both sexes dig nest-tunnel that is 50–100 cm long, 9–11 cm in diameter, ends in chamber 35 cm in diameter and 9–15 cm high .They lay a clutch 4-5 eggs. The female parent incubates. The fledging period is 40 days. Both sexes feed the young.