NESTING AND BREEDING RECORD OF STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER IN SINGAPORE
By Lim Kim Chuah and Marcel Finlay
The Stork-billed Kingfisher is the largest of the 8 species of kingfishers known to occur in Singapore. It has a wide distribution and can be found from the Indian subcontinent, mainland Southeast Asia to Singapore and east to the Philippines and Sulawesi. In Singapore, it is an uncommon resident and can typically be found in the mangroves, forest edges around our reservoirs and water areas. Some of the places include Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Kranji Marsh, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Pasir Ris Nature Park, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Hindhede Nature Park, MacRitchie Reservoir and Pulau Ubin.
Like many of our resident birds, there is not much documentation on the nesting or breeding of this species. Lim KS1 mentioned that breeding has been reported but nest has not been found in Singapore.
On 4 June 2017, I was scanning around the Pekan Quarry, Pulau Ubin when I noted a pair of Stork-billed Kingfisher at the far end of the quarry. The pair was observed entering into a termitarium nest. The termitarium was appended on bamboo plants growing at the edge of the quarry pond. During my brief period of observation, the kingfishers were observed to fly into the hole periodically. Often one bird could be seen to perch nearby while the other is in the hole. This behaviour suggest that the birds were possibly nesting in the termitarium.
Picture showing nesting site.
Cropped picture showing the kingfisher perched (top left) close to the termitarium
According to Wells2, Stork-billed Kingfishers have been observed to use both soil and arboreal termitarium as nesting places. This observation of the Stork-billed Kingfisher using an arboreal termitarium at Pekan Quarry is probably the first documented record of the nest of the Stork-billed Kingfisher in Singapore.
To add to our breeding record of this species, Marcel Finlay observed an individual at the Petai Trail, MacRitchie Reservoir in 4 July 2017. The bill of this individual was mostly black and the legs were not the usual bright red. These features are indicative of a juvenile bird which is not often reported in Singapore.
I hope this short note will add to our knowledge of breeding birds in Singapore.
Juvenile Stork-billed Kingfisher showing darkish bill Photo: Marcel Finlay.
1.Lim, K.S. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore).
2.Wells, D.R. (1997). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Volume 1: Non-Passerines. Academic Press.
3. Yong, D.L., Lim, K.C. and Lee T.K. (2013). A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. John Beaufoy.