|Range||Asia, ranging across the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.|
The Blue-eared kingfisher (Alcedo meninting), is a species of river kingfisher found in Asia, ranging across the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is found mainly in dense shaded forests where it hunts in small streams. It is darker crowned, with darker rufous underparts and lacking the rufous ear stripe of the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) which is found in more open habitats. A number of subspecies have been described that differ in measurement and color shade. Adult males have an all dark bill while females have a reddish lower mandible.
Several plumage variations in the population that occur across its wide distribution range have been recognized as subspecies. These include:
- Alcedo meninting coltarti (Stuart Baker, 1919): Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina and includes laubmanni Mathews, 1925 of eastern India.
- Alcedo meninting meninting (Horsfield, 1821): Islands off the west coast of Sumatra, Java, Lombok, Sulawesi, Banggai and Sula Islands
- Alcedo meninting phillipsi (Stuart Baker, 1927): Sri Lanka which are said to be larger and darker blue. Some authors restrict this to the Sri Lankan population while some older authors extend its range into the southern Western Ghats of India.
- Alcedo meninting rufigastra (Walden, 1873): Andaman Islands which is greener on the upper blue parts.
- Alcedo meninting scintillans (Stuart Baker, 1919) southern Myanmar and Thailand
- Alcedo meninting verreauxii (De La Berge, 1851): Malaysia to Riau Archipelago east through Borneo and the Sulu Islands.
This 16 centimetres (6.3 in) long kingfisher is almost identical to the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) but is distinguished by the blue ear coverts, darker and more intense cobalt-blue upperparts with richer rufous under parts. The juvenile blue-eared kingfisher has rufous ear-coverts as in the common kingfisher but it usually shows some mottling on the throat and upper breast which disappears when the bird reaches adulthood. Young birds have a reddish bill with whitish tips.
Distribution and Habitat
The range of this species stretches from India in the west, eastwards across Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and further into Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. The usual habitat is pools or streams in dense evergreen forest and sometimes mangroves, situated under 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) of altitude.
Behavior and Ecology
The blue-eared kingfisher is largely resident within its range. They usually perch on branches overhanging densely shaded streams before diving below to capture prey that includes crustaceans, dragonfly larvae and fish. Other insects including grasshoppers and mantids have been recorded.
The breeding season in India is mainly May to June in northern India and January in southwestern India. The nest is a metre long tunnel in the bank of a forest stream where about five to seven white near spherical eggs are laid.