© RUDDY KINGFISHER EATS ESCARGOT

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates, Kingfishers | 0

“A sequential to © ‘Ruddy Kingfisher Eats 1-legged Crab’ posted on September 2009 HERE, readers have now another opportunity to revisit same location. There, a foraging pair of Ruddy Kingfishers (Halcyon coromanda) may be found, during their several months’ annual vacation in Northern Peninsular Malaysia (below left).

“In addition to sighting of an adult pair, I was delighted to encounter a sub-adult this 2014 (above right).

“Their growing presence strongly suggests; habitat of remaining mangrove forests with supported Nipa palms (Nypa fruticans), that skirt the river banks, remain healthy foraging grounds for this halcyon species… for now at least.

“While observed to be skittish when foraging, a Ruddy was seen trying to conceal its catch when my presence was felt (below left).

“Well… not quite all. I saw a peeping from its bulging throat (above right).

“What aroused my curiosity was a quick dash to flee in the presence of humans when a catch was at beak. Following which, bird disappeared from view only to momentary later, reciprocated with sounds of distinctive shell crushing heard in the undergrowths.

“A pity, I had no further opportunity to observe Ruddy in foraging action; only a flighty glimpse of its bright, blue rump disappearing before my eyes.

“The opportunity finally came on 7th March when knocking sounds, ‘kok, kok, kok’ from Nipa palm grove got my attention.

“Pierre, the Ruddy Kingfisher had flown in with a mollusc. (left).

“Wedged mercilessly between a pair of huge, red pincer bill, the snail (Ampullariidae) was subjected to several bashings alongside vertical palm branch. Failing to crack the blackish shelled species, the mollusk – possibly an Apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) was further subjected to being skilfully juggled and tossed around for repositioning. Enjoy the pictorial sequence here (below).

“Unfortunately, the slippery mollusc got to live another day when it slipped from executioner’s clippers and fell into swampy ground. Here, Pierre the Ruddy Kingfisher was left with no escargot to lunch dine at the Parisian styled, side concrete walkway -Café la Nypa fruticans (below).

I watched bird twitching photographers took to favourite perched spots of Ruddy. Prompted by their peers, they were quick to quite immediately park themselves to await patiently the arrival of Halcyon Coromanda between the months of March and May (2014) where birds’ presence was mostly likely seen.

“A rear view showing signatory flash of blue on its rump, as bird scouted from its favourite perch above is shown here (below left).

“My observation went further to have Ruddy Kingfisher opened its bill wide to stretch its jaw (above right).

“Was this a jaw exercise for tired bird gone bored stiff waiting for its prey?

“The conclusion of this article cannot be justified further without this parting, signatory ‘poo’ shot to bid farewell to readers- a compliment to kingfisher mythological story of King Ceyx and wish readers many halcyon days to come (left).”

Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
Penang, Malaysia
23rd November 2014

Copyright article and all copy bird images – Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund

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