Bangkok City Kingfishers

Thailand is home to 15 species of Kingfishers. Kingfishers are exciting birds to find in Bangkok, and the good news is they’re not too hard to find. Yesterday was another rainy day in the city, continuing a long streak of stormy weather. Despite this, it was a great time birdwatching at Rotfai Park. Specifically, with the Kingfishers. This entry will be referring to this locality.

The first species encountered yesterday was a Black-capped Kingfisher, a winter visitor present around September to May. There’s no difficulty in identifying this species. It was very flighty and quickly took off before any photos could be taken.

Black-capped Kingfisher, taken at Rotfai Park. 24th December 2019.

The month being February, the Javan Pond-Herons were starting to show their breeding colours. Very nice to see since otherwise they are visually inseparable from the Chinese and Indian.

Javan Pond Heron with breeding plumage coming through. 17th February 2022.

Not long into the visit, the clouds gave way to torrential downpour. I took cover alongside a pond, catching a bright blue glimpse of a Common Kingfisher flying away. Common Kingfisher is also a winter visitor, but seems to be present for majority of the year. I waited for severity of the rain to subside, alongside a singing Oriental Magpie-Robin.

Common Kingfisher, male, at Rotfai Park. Christmas Eve 2019.
The female Oriental Magpie-Robin which kept me company. 17th February 2022.

The rain eventually stopped and I was looking for Spotted Owlets when I heard the call of Stork-billed Kingfisher. It’s a call I only recently learned. Ditching the hunt for owls, I followed the sound. Funnily enough the sound took me to a White-throated Kingfisher which happened to be a few metres away from the Stork-billed. According to range-maps White-throated Kingfisher is the most widespread Kingfisher in Thailand.

White-throated Kingfisher from yesterday’s visit. 17th February 2022.
White-throated Kingfisher at Rotfai Park. 13th December 2019.

Not far to the right was the very vocal Stork-billed Kingfisher. It’s my favourite Kingfisher that can be found at the park here. I heard that they already nested and had chicks this season. They often make their nest from a termite nest.

Stork-billed Kingfisher, always a highlight. 17th February 2022.
Hard to beat this beak. 17th February 2022.

A couple years ago I had a very memorable close-encounter with this bird when it landed very close to me, near the blue bridge. I didn’t see it for a very long time and yesterday was the first time since, that I got good pictures of it here, again.

Close-encounter 2 years ago. 3rd April 2019.

That wraps up yesterday’s Kingfisher encounters. These are reliable species you can encounter at the park at this time of year. If you’re very lucky you can see Oriental Dwarf-Kingfisher (last reported 6 years ago) and Ruddy Kingfisher at times of migration. Collared Kingfisher is a common resident but not commonly reported at Rotfai Park.

All images © 2019 – 2022 hamsambly

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