Coraciiformes Taxon Advisory Group -
Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)
SSP Manager: Not a TAG Recommended Species
White-collared kingfishers are a very widespread species with numerous subspecies. They are found on three continents (Australia, Asia, and Africa) and an extensive list of countries within those continents.
A fairly small primarily monomorphic kingfisher measuring around 23 to 26 cm (approximately 9-10 inches) in length and weighing 50-100 grams. The crown, sides of the head, mantle, scapulars, wings, back and tail are varying shades of blue to washed turquoise depending on the subspecies. The collar and underside are white. There is also a mottled white supercilium. The bill is primarily black with a pale yellow lower mandible. The juveniles are distinguised by a slight buffy-brown to the collar and a greenish hue to the upperparts.
Although the species in general is common and widespread, approximately forty of the known subspecies are found only on remote and small islands, including Erromanga, Torres, Pavuvu, Nissan, Duff, Malaita, Utupua, Rota, and many more (Howard and Moore 1991). Each of the islands is home to a unique form of the kingfisher, which due to their small and exposed populations are considered vulnerable to any environmental change, natural or man-made.
The white-collared kingfisher range covers an enormous area, stretching from the Red Sea eastwards through India, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The forty-nine subspecies can be found in eastern Africa, southeastern Asia, Australia, and an extensive number of the Austral-Asian islands.
In Ethiopia, Oman, and India they are found primarily in mangrove swamps. In southeast Asia they inhabit mangroves, creeks, beach-front vegetation, and plantations backing onto beaches. When there are no competing species of kingfishers present, white-collared kingfishers can be found inhabiting additional inland habitats.
The breeding season is from December until August, during which time the birds will pursue each other in territorial courtship flights. The male courtship feeds the female, often prior to a copulation attempt. In some cases, the female may develop a bare spot at the nape resulting from multiple copulation attempts. The nest holes, when excavated, are excavated by both genders. The preferred nesting location is a rotten tree, stump, or a earthen mound. Termitaria and holes previously excavated by woodpeckers or barbets may also be utilized for nesting. The preferred height is extremely variable, ranging from 2 to 30 meters above ground level, though nests are typically less than 6 meters above ground. The clutch of eggs ranges from 3-7 eggs, with each egg measuring between 27.8-31.1mm x 22.7-25.3mm. The incubation lasts approximately 18 days and the chicks fledge from the nest cavity at approximately 26 days of age.
Birds inhabiting coastal regions feed primarily on crabs, shrimp, and small fish. Those birds found further inland consume prey items such as earthworms, insects, snails, land crabs, spiders, frogs, small snakes, and uncommonly mice, bird eggs, and nestlings.
Collared Kingfisher Gallery
Collared Kingfisher Bibliography