Black-capped Kingfishers

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Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata

Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata The Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata, is a tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in tropical Asia from India east to China, Korea and Southeast Asia.

This most northerly of the Halcyonidae is resident over much of its range, but northern populations are migratory and the wintering range extends to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Borneo and Java.

This is a common species on coastal waters especially in mangroves. Although easily disturbed, it perches conspicuously on wires or other exposed perches.


This is a large kingfisher, 28 cm in length.

The adult has a purple-blue back, black head and shoulders, white neck collar and throat, and rufous underparts. The large bill and legs are bright red. In flight, large white patches are visible on the blue and black wings. Males and females look alike, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

The flight of the Black-capped Kingfisher is rapid and direct, the short rounded wings whirring.

Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata Calls / Vocalizations

The call of this kingfisher is a cackling ki-ki-ki-ki-ki.

Diet / Feeding

This species mainly hunts large insects, but coastal birds will also take fish and frogs.

Breeding / Nesting

The nest is a tunnel in an earth bank. A single clutch of 4-5 round white eggs is typical.

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Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata

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