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Savista, at Village Sanjharia, Off Ajmer Road, Jaipur 302042, Rajasthan

JAIPUR BIRDWATCH: The stork-billed kingfisher and white throated kingfisher

Stork-billed kingfisher

Birdwatching never got easier, or more fun.  And it couldn’t be a better time of year to match the voice with the bird.

Imagine that you are at an opera that begins at 6 in the morning and goes on until 4 in the evening.  Imagine that every singer is top-notch, and out to give his best  (yes, there are no divas here, only male singers).  Imagine that you have an open invitation to daily shows, and that you could choose your own seat, rotate seats to get the best view of your favourite baritone, and even have your own box.

Well, that is what Savista is like now.  An opera house.

The first fingers of summer are reaching out across the countryside.  The trees, which were bare five days ago are now breaking out in new leaf, but the foliage is still not dense enough to hide the vibrant feathered singers.  And every singer is using this to be out there, showing himself off, and singing as though his chest would burst.  What a display for the females!  And for us, lucky bystanders to these courtship preludes.  It was never easier to bird-song spot.  Just choose your aria, and you will be able to sight the singer.

Yesterday, we spotted a new visitor to Savista.  The stork-billed kingfisher – 38 cm and, reportedly,  India’s largest kingfisher.  We were able to identify it by its very heavy large red bill and dark grey-brown head,  its back the trademark ‘kingfisher blue’.  We believe that he may be new to our area, because until now we have only been familiar with his white-throated kin who is one of our established residents. What caught our attention was a more powerful and persistent ‘kingfisher trilling’ than we had hitherto heard from our resident white-throated kingfisher.  On following the trail of the song we were able to sight the visitor easily, perched alone on a tree, displaying his “stork-bill” and the absence of the chestnut brown head and neck (characteristic of his white throated counterpart).  Since then he has obliged us with many more performances.

Bye for now.  Got to get back!  Another aria has begun, and we need to see who the singer is!

White throated kingfisher

Pictures from and, respectively