Monday, March 26, 2018

Beautiful Birds of Pakistan - The Awesome Kingfishers

I am not a bird watcher but sure am a bird lover. I spend time watching beautiful birds the Nature created in numerous bird watching sites on the Internet beside keep surfing the sky and trees or even my lawn to see beautiful birds flying, landing and chirping. And the Nature has gifted Pakistan with a large variety of birds both local and those migrating from the colder regions from November onwards and being our guests till March-April when they fly back to their homes.

While every bird is peculiar in shape and colours, for no good reason I have fell in love with the Kingfishers. Confiding with you very candidly I have never seen a Kingfisher in my life but by merely watching their photographs, I have fallen in love with them Kingfishers.
Kingfishers are easily recognizable by their long, sharp and pointed bills and generally blue-orange-white coloured bodies. In fact proportionately, their beaks seem larger than their bodies. As per Wikipedia, Kingfishers  have 114 species and is divided into three subfamilies and 19 genera. kingfishers are generally found near rivers for they like fishing and eating them right away as fresh as possible. However, these are also found in jungles where they devour on small invertebrates. Kingfishers can be as small as 10 cm (3.9 in) in length and between 9 and 12 g (0.32 and 0.42 oz) in weight like the African dwarf kingfisher, while they can be as large as 42 to 46 cm (17 to 18 in) in length and 255–426 g (9.0–15.0 oz) in weight such as the giant kingfisher (Megaceryle Maxima).

The most common form of the Kingfishers (Alcedo Atthis) is simply the Common Kingfishers as can be seen in the three photos above.  It is very small to the size of 17 – 19 centimeters in length, weighing in between 34 – 46 grams. It has short yellow legs with its bill measuring four centimeters. These are usually blue and or green in colour and their upper-parts, rump and tail are a bright blue colour. 

Crested Kingfishers is yet another species of the bird. However, these are not as vividly coloured as their family but are easily recognizable by the crest over their heads as can be seen in the two photos below. These are not as commonly sighted as the Common Kingfishers.
The Crested Kingfisher is a fairly large bird of the size of 41 centimeters and is usually blue as its predominant colour. It is found in Pakistan, besides India, Bangladesh, Russia and stretching as far as Japan.
The Pied Kingfisher (below) is generally has black and white plumage, crest. It is usually found around lakes and rivers. One can spot these hovering over the water, looking for its prey and then diving into the water to catch fish for its lunch.
White throated kingfisher (Halcyon Smyrnensis), as can be seen in the following photos, is also called the White-breasted Kingfisher or Smyrna Kingfisher. It generally has a reddish peak with a brownish head, blue wings and a clear white through or breast. This species is generally found away from water courses and is thus also known as the Tree Kingfisher. However, this does not stop them visiting fields when crops are ready and wetlands like  swamps, marshes, lakes and even in mangrove swamps. It falls in the smaller category of birds with a size of 26.5 to 29.5 centimeters.
Those going on morning trails in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad can often spot these beautiful birds resting on tree branches or flying past overhead with awesome speed. These are found from Turkey right up to Philippines.

Kingfishers are readily falling in love type of birds due to their vivid and bright colours and larger bill. I wish to see these one day myself to appreciate their true beauty.
About the Photographer:

Mohsan Raza Ali hails from city of Multan and is now settled in Islamabad. Besides his wonderful hobby of bird watching and photography, he is computer science graduate from Islamic University, Islamabad and has been a senior Software Engineer at Bentley Systems, Development Manager at Aspose, Development Manager at Data Focal Innovations and an Application Architect at LMKR.

All photos above are the property of Mohsan Raza Ali and have been shared with his due permission. His photos can be seen on Facebook | Caption Photos: Crimson Sunbird

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