White-throated Kingfisher

Halcyon smyrnensis

السماك ابيض الصدر

Status: Common

The White-throated Kingfisher belongs to the Alcedinidae family in the Corachformes order. It is 26-30 cm in size and 75-120 grams in weight. This is a member of a family of compact small to medium-sized birds with comparatively large heads and beaks. The White-throated Kingfisher is a colorful bird with a chestnut brown head and abdomen. It has a white throat and chest, turquoise back and upper wings, and red beak and legs. In flight the large spots of blue and white on the wings are visible as well as the orange color of the under-wing. Fish is a small part of its very varied diet that includes insects, crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles, rodents, and songbirds. Small prey is immediately swallowed but larger prey is brought to a "dining table" in its territory. The prey is stunned by being hit against a hard object and then swallowed whole. It prefers humid areas such as cultivated fields, urban parks, orchards and river banks. A loud quick whistle ti-ti-tu-tu-tu is usually vocalized from a treetop or prominent perch. The White-throated Kingfisher nests in holes that it digs in earthen walls in a variety of habitats, not necessarily near bodies of water. The subspecies found in this area is the H.s. smyrnensis that breeds in the Middle East and eastward to west India. Its population is on the rise apparently due to its ability to adapt to human environment. In Palestine it is a common resident bird. Insecticides used for agriculture are known to threaten the population of the White-throated Kingfisher.

International conservation status: Least Concern

Regional conservation status: Least Concern

Migratory behaviour: Resident breeder 

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff nature reserves