Pied Kingfisher – Concentrated Diver

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Peter Ericsson

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Peter Ericsson

While having the privilege of obtaining some photos for future blogs from Peter Ericsson’s Galleries, I obtained a few photos of the Pied Kingfisher. I thought this Kingfisher was very pretty. Then I found this amazing video from BBC Worldwide and decided to share these. Another reason, my attempts to photograph our Belted Kingfishers is never very successful. Thankfully Peter and the videographers had better success.

When the Lord created the birds, He gave them so many amazing abilities. The way the Kingfisher keeps his head so steady is absolutely fantastic.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (Romans 11:33-34 KJV)

The Pied Kingfisher is about 7 – 10 in or 17-25 cm long with a white with a black mask, a white supercilium and black breast bands. The female has only one breast band. The crest is neat and the upperparts are barred in black. There are several subspecies. It is common throughout sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia from Turkey to India to China. It is resident, and most birds do not migrate, other than short-distance seasonal movements. In India it is distributed mainly on the plains. It is thought to be the world’s 3rd most common kingfisher and a noisy bird.

Fish is its main diet, though it will eat other aquatic invertebrates. It usually hunts by hovering over the water to detect prey and diving vertically down bill-first to capture fish. When not foraging, they have a straight rapid flight and have been observed flying at nearly 32 mph.

Pied Kingfisher from BBC Worldwide – Shows this diving ability

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2 NKJV)

During breeding season (February to April), they make its nest in a hole excavated in a vertical mud bank about five feet above water. The nest tunnel is 4 to 5 feet long and ends in a chamber. Several birds may nest in the same vicinity. The usual clutch is 3-6 white eggs. The pied kingfisher sometimes reproduces co-operatively, with young non-breeding birds from an earlier brood assisting parents (helpers) or even unrelated older birds.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. (Matthew 8:20 NKJV)

Kingfishers “are monogamous, teritorial, and sometimes colonial.”  Courtship displays are noisy and the displays are in duet as they raise their wings or spiral in flight. Recent suggestion is that the Pied Kingfisher and the American green kingfishers are derived from an Old World species (kind), with the Pied Kingfisher or its ancestor losing the metallic colouration afterwards. The Alcedinidae Family is where the Kingfishers and Kookaburras are found. At present there are 95 of them. They belong to the Coraciiformes Order. The Order includes Rollers, Ground Rollers, Kingfishers, Todies, Motmots, and Bee-eaters.

Pied Piper up close by IndiaVideo.org

Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. (Job 9:10 KJV)

Peter Ericsson is in Thailand and is a Christian photographer. His two sites are Peter Ericsson’s Photo Galleries and his blog Thaibirder . Please visit his sites for some fantastic photagraphy.

Information taken from Wikipedia,  Complete Birds of the World, and Bird


Birds of the Bible – What Birds Can Tell – 1

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Daves BirdingPix

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Daves BirdingPix

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, (Job 12:7-9 NKJV)

One of my favorite birds that I enjoy watching is the Kingfisher. The ones we have here in Florida (Belted Kingfishers) are rather plain compared to others around the world, but they all have a characteristic look of a very long bill on a large head and a short neck. It is the bill that those in Japan have studied that is amazing.

Japan has electric trains that speed over 200 miles per hour or 322 kilometers per hour. They are very safe and have a great record, but a noise problem had been plaguing them until they observed the Kingfisher’s beak. When the speeding trains went through the tunnels, it caused a “tunnel boom” which goes against their strict sound pollution laws.

Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) by Nik

Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) by Nik

“Eiji Nakatsu, the train’s chief engineer and an avid bird-watcher, asked himself, “Is there something in Nature that travels quickly and smoothly between two very different mediums?” Modeling the front-end of the train after the beak of kingfishers, which dive from the air into bodies of water with very little splash to catch fish, resulted not only in a quieter train, but 15% less electricity use even while the train travels 10% faster.” (Learning Efficiency from Kingfishers)

Bullet Train

Bullet Train

The “tunnel boom” is caused  “when a train passes through such a tunnel at high speed, it compresses the air in front of the engine. Upon leaving the tunnel, this air rushes outward, creating a loud thunderclap, or sonic boom. Nearby windows rattle, and people are awakened by the noise.” (Don DeYoung, Answers) When the engineers did wind tunnel experiments they found that “the kingfisher’s bill is ideally shaped for a smooth, streamlined transition from air into water. This drastic change in pressure is similar to the change a bullet train experiences when emerging from a tunnel into the open air.”

By observing one of God’s created birds, the kingfisher, they were able to solve a serious problem. The Lord in His great wisdom has provided us many critters and other things to observe so that they may “tell us” things that will benefit us.

Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD. (Psalms 107:43 KJV)

See Also:

Speeding Bullet – Answers V4, #3
Kingfisher – Train by Discovery of Design
Learning Efficiency from Kingfishers by Biomimicry Institute