White-Throated Kingfisher – The Cobalt Woodpecker?

What a beauty! India is known for its many beautiful kingfisher species, including this one, the White-Throated Kingfisher. I spotted a few different kingfisher species along this trip. This one in particular was quite hard to get to stay still! It was perpetually moving around, perhaps searching for prey.

We had spent the whole day traveling throughout the Kabini River Lodge, both on the river and in the forest. We had spotted a variety of different birds, and kept on seeing this kingfisher. It wouldn’t stay still, though! It would always be flitting around (the way it is in the second photo) and made it extremely hard to get a good, clear photo. However, towards the end of the day, as we were heading back, I spotted a blue flash in one of the trees. A closer look revealed that it was the kingfisher perching, almost as if it had decided to finally pose for us!

Almost immediately after we got the first photo, it took flight. It held the position for a few seconds, and I was able to get a photo that showed the bird’s entire stunning color scheme. All in all, the experience was really fascinating – one which forced me to be patient, and wait for the right shot, and which made getting the photo all the more satisfying.

The first thing you might notice about the kingfisher is its brilliant blue back and tail. When I got a closer look, I realized that it has much more – the chestnut-brown head and breast, and the white throat which gives the kingfisher its name. Once it took flight, I was able to see the entire bird.

Look at its wings – they are tipped with black-grey and white, before merging into the blue of the rest of the body. Does this coloring remind you of any other bird? The first thing I thought of was most of the woodpecker species we see – while their main body is typically dark black, but their wings are tipped with those same colors, in a very similar style! In fact, the kingfisher’s body shape and size seems to resemble that of many woodpeckers.

This is an interesting similarity, given that the two groups are quite different in their classifications. Kingfishers belong to the order Coraciiformes, which includes Motmots, Bee-Eaters, and Rollers. However, Woodpeckers belong to the order Piciformes, a family which include Toucans, Barbets and Jacamars. All of these birds do have similar appearances, though. Isn’t it cool how, despite their classifications being different, they have these similar characteristics?

Published by kabirsamsi

High School Senior in Fremont, CA. I enjoy music, programming and ornithology. My other hobbies include biking and watching soccer and cricket. Check out my birding blog, KBirdVentures! (link below) to see my photos and read up on different news in the avian world.

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