Contributed by Seng Alvin
The nest hole at the based of the bird nest fern.
Kingfishers have large heavy bills to catch fish, lizards and grasshoppers. They are not suited to build nests like bulbuls and sunbirds. So they have to adapt and used holes to nest. As their bills are not as strong as the woodpeckers, they cannot dig nest holes in the tree trunks and branches. Instead they look for softer medium like old termites nests, plant and fern roots. The White-throated Kingfisher digs holes in the sides of earth embankments for their nests.
Parent Collared Kingfisher trying to get the chicks out of the nest hole
On 29 March, I came across a group of photographers shooting a Bird Nest Fern at Pasir Ris Park. Out of curiosity, I joined them. They were shooting at a nest hole at the base of the fern. They told me that it was the nest hole of a pair of Collared Kingfishers, Todiramphus chloris. This is something new to me. The parent bird flew back after a short wait but did not bring back any food. We later found out that it was trying to lure the chicks out of the nest.
The first chick fledged on 29 March 2016. Looks very much like the parents except for a shorter tail.
Collared Kingfishers are the most common kingfishers in Singapore. They are normally found near our coast and mangroves but some have moved inland for a higher protein diet when nesting. They have two breeding seasons, January to May and August to September.
The chicks were already fully grown and I was just in time to see the fledgling of the first chick. The second chick fledged the next day. They have short tails but already assumed the white and blue plumage of the adults. So happy to have another pair of these kingfishers making their home here.
Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009. Singapore Avifauna.