The pied kingfisher

Writer: Iassc Cohen  |  Editor: Ye Shangqing  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A pied kingfisher is flying over the Mangrove Reserve in Futian District.

Pied Kingfisher

Kingfishers are definitely among Shenzhen’s celebrity birds, and whenever a wildlife observer finds one, they will shift their attention to it no matter what. These birds never fail to attract my attention, especially one species called the pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis), a medium-sized kingfisher whose 30-cm body is covered by a fabulous black and white plumage.


Like other kingfishers, this bird has a very long sharp black beak that’s perfectly designed for diving into their prey at high speeds. To find a fish, a crustacean or any sort of water insect, it will hover over a water body patiently for a long time.


Pied kingfishers also use their long beaks to dig holes in the ground to build their nests, mainly on river banks or muddy flats around lakes. They will lay around five eggs; both the male and female will help in the whole process of incubating and feeding the youngsters, and remain together monogamously.


A pied kingfisher is seen in OCT Wetland in Nanshan District. 

Incubation takes a little less than three weeks and the feeding of the newborn will take up to two months before the youngsters are ready to leave the nest.


Building their nests underground, they can end up as a delicious meal of snakes, although birds of prey occasionally become their predators. However, their biggest threat will be any change in the physiochemical conditions of the water bodies. That affects the entire dynamics of the ecosystems where they live, reducing their food sources and affecting their metabolism.


Therefore, their presence is indicative of a healthy ecosystem. We need to keep up the effort to preserve the environment so that these birds continue to live healthily and happily among us.