The King of Good Times!


Yes, I know what you all are thinking when it comes to this awesome tagline. However here I am not going to talk about any beer brands but birds. This line goes best with the gorgeous bird “Kingfisher” which I will be discussing.


Often as children we are exposed to this colorful bird. We are either made to imagine or shown in those “color me” books which have large silhouette of the bird and at a tender age you are suppose to use your wax crayons and jam in as many colors as possible guided by someone. It may be shown to you on television documentary or mentioned somewhere, in grand-ma stories. Basically, this bird in itself is a very famous celebrity among school teachers, poets, parents, relatives etc. So be it whatever you do know that kingfisher is not just a beer 😉


The kingfisher bird is widely known for its beautiful colors and long huge beak. These are small to medium sized tuft of blue, green, orange, yellow, black feathers divided into three families namely the tree, river and water kingfishers. They are distributed all over the world. They belong to the order coraciiformes. Coraciiforme includes most of the multi-colored vibrant birds like all kingfishers, rollers, hoopoe and hornbills.


Common Kingfisher

When we are talking about kingfisher generally we are referring to Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). This variety is a small vibrant jewel with as many colors you can think of. It is sometimes called the Little Blue Kingfisher.
Off course when it has the brightest blue!

There are many superstitions attached to this bird. Superstitions, which I feel are a result of continuous absurd thinking of Homo sapien-sapien brain. I read in a book that a group of ethnic Europeans and Asians wore this little birdie’s dried up skin as amulet.
And this is supposed to save you from all harm and secure good fortune.

Best and easy accessible place to watch this little blue is the Manipal Lake. It is usually seen active during the morning and evening hours when it happily chirps and fish.

White throated Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher


White-Throated Kingfisher or White-Breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) and Stork-billed kingfisher (Palargopsis capensis) are large kingfishers with noticeably huge bill found here. Out of the two, White-breasted kingfisher is common. This bird is often seen perched on nearby tree or wire aside a water body and fields waiting patiently for fish or other small creatures to feed on. You can witness him on the floodlights of the football grounds at end point in the morning hours as well as at Eshwar nagar and Manipal Lake.
Stork-billed kingfisher is an uncommon bird of Manipal.

Stork-billed kingfisher
Stork-billed Kingfisher

This bird can be spotted perched near slow streams and ponds.



Another beautiful kingfisher that I would like to talk about would definitely be the Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis). This belongs to the water kingfisher family and is quite different from all the other kingfishers’ one of the reason being it’s bi-colouration. 😀
Even though they are just black and white they look gorgeous and are a treat to your eyes. Unlike the other species that patiently wait atop a perch this smartie bird would hover over a pond and within seconds would dive in and get the fish.
These have not yet been recorded in Manipal but you can get them at nearby locations, one of them being the Malyadi Bird Sanctuary.

Pied Kingfisher


Oriental Dwarf kingfisher aka black-backed dwarf kingfisher
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher aka Black-backed Dwarf Kingfisher

Recently, yet another treasure was witnessed in the forests of Manipal, the Black-backed Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithacus).  This is a tiny small compact bird with an awesomely coloured yellow body and pinkish head and bill. This miniature creation is like a yellow diamond shinning in the dense shaded forests. They are highly sensitive birds and do not like human disturbance.
Care should be taken while approaching these birds.
Happy birding!




You can enjoy all of these and lot more on the upcoming Manipal Bird Day that is 9th of Feb 2014, Sunday. All the photographers, birders, nature lovers and enthusiastic are invited as we will take a walk through various habitats in Manipal and explore the beautiful world of birds.


  1. Also, Just FYI..The Pied Kingfisher is the biggest bird in the world with the ability to hover without the aid of a wind current…

    Source: The Life of Birds by David Attenborough – Episode 5 – Fishing for a Living

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