Exploring the Vibrant Kingfishers of Maharashtra

Written By Parag Kokane on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 | 4:41 PM

The kingfishers of Maharashtra are a dazzling spectacle for bird enthusiasts, thanks to their vivid plumage. Contrary to the common belief that these birds are solely aquatic and piscivorous, many species of kingfishers thrive far from water and boast a diverse diet. From frogs and lizards to insects, spiders, small birds, and even rodents, their dietary preferences are as varied as their habitats.

Characterized by their large heads, sharply pointed bills, and compact legs, kingfishers are a distinct and widespread avian group in India. Among them, the White-throated Kingfisher and the Common Kingfisher stand out as particularly prevalent across the country. These birds fall into three main sub-families: the River Kingfishers (Alcedinidae), Tree Kingfishers (Halcyonidae), and Water Kingfishers (Cerylidae).

The Kingfishers Calling Maharashtra Home

Maharashtra hosts 7 different species of kingfishers out of total 12 that are found in India, each with its unique characteristics and habitats. Let's dive into the details of the seven species found within this state:

Common Kingfisher/Small Blue Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Tikona, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Known for its petite size and swift, low flight over water, this species is a common sight across Maharashtra. It predominantly feeds on fish and is a joy to observe for bird watchers.

Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting)

Parule, Malvan, Dist. Sindhudurga, Maharashtra, India

Mistakable for the Common Kingfisher, this species is identified by its distinctive blue ear coverts. It prefers the small streams of dense forests in the Konkan coastal belt.

Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

Anshi WLS, Dandeli, Karnataka, India

Mainly residing in mangroves and coastal areas, it can also venture inland along riverbanks. Its diet includes frogs, fish, crabs, and occasionally young birds.

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Kelshi, Tal. Dapoli, Dist. Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India

The White-throated Kingfisher (also known as White-breasted Kingfisher), is the state bird of West Bengal. Notably common and adaptable, it is seen even in urban settings. This species is versatile in its diet, preying on a wide range of animals, from rodents to small snakes.

Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)

Devare, Tal. Mandangad, Dist. Raigad, Maharashtra, India

The largest kingfisher in Maharashtra, it hunts near freshwaters and coasts, eating fish, frogs, crabs, and more. It's known for its bold nature, capable of driving away larger birds.

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

ARAI Hill, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Unique for its black and white plumage, this bird is admired for its remarkable diving skills. Found around calm waters, it is a widespread resident in Maharashtra.

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher a.k.a. ODKF (Ceyx erithaca)

Kelshi, Tal. Dapoli, Dist. Ratnagiri, Konkan Region, Maharashtra, India

The smallest and arguably the most stunning species, it dwells in the dense forests of Konkan. Despite its size, its vibrant colors make it easily identifiable.


About Parag Kokane

With my camera and binoculars, I wander through the beautiful landscapes of the Western Ghats, capturing the amazing wildlife and nature around us. On this blog, you'll find exciting wildlife observations, my thoughts on protecting nature, and more. Join me as we explore and help protect the beauty of our world together.