Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

The Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata) is a medium-sized kingfisher belonging to the family Alcedinidae. It is found in various parts of South and Southeast Asia, including countries such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The Black-capped Kingfisher inhabits a range of habitats, including mangroves, wetlands, forests, and cultivated areas, often near water sources like rivers, lakes, and coastal areas.

Physical Characteristics:

The Black-capped Kingfisher measures around 28 centimeters (11 inches) in length. It has a striking plumage characterized by a black cap and a white collar, which contrasts with its dark blue back and wings. The bird’s underside is white or buff, and its bill is bright red-orange. The legs and feet are also red-orange. Both males and females share similar coloration and markings, with little sexual dimorphism.


The Black-capped Kingfisher primarily feeds on fish, crustaceans, insects, and small vertebrates, such as amphibians, reptiles, and rodents. It is known for its agility and skill in catching prey, using its sharp bill to snatch fish from the water or capture insects and other small animals on land.

Reproduction and Lifecycle:

The breeding season for the Black-capped Kingfisher typically occurs between April and June, depending on the location. These birds are monogamous and form long-lasting pair bonds. They excavate a tunnel in an earthen bank or sandy ground, usually near water, where they create a nesting chamber at the end of the tunnel.

The female lays 4 to 6 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 17-19 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they fledge, or leave the nest, at about 24-28 days old. The young birds continue to receive care from their parents for a few more weeks before becoming fully independent.

Conservation Status:

The Black-capped Kingfisher is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. The species is not facing any major threats at present. However, habitat loss due to deforestation, wetland drainage, and coastal development, as well as pollution and human disturbance, could pose potential risks to the Black-capped Kingfisher population in the future. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation and monitoring populations to ensure their long-term survival.

Updated: 20 April 2023 — 14:41

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