White Breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Also called the White Throated Kingfisher, this Kingfisher, besides catching fish, additionally feeds on reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents and even small birds. They are larger than other Kingfishers, growing up to 11 inches in length.

Their loud calls from trees and tops of buildings in rural and even urban areas early in the morning especially during monsoons which is the breeding season are distinctive, and many of my friends have invariably seen and heard one near their homes.

Armed with a powerful pinkish beak and rapid flight, the White Breasted Kingfisher is a handsome, strong bird, not afraid to take on predators such as Black Kites and Crows that may trouble it. They nest in an earth bank, about two feet deep.

The White Breasted Kingfisher is found across Asia, and is widely distributed across India from the plains to the lower Himalayas.

It is the state bird of West Bengal.

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