Perching on a dying tree, glancing straight at me. Pasir Ris Park, Singapore. December 2015.

Halcyon smyrnensis
My first sighting of the white-throated kingfisher was when I started out birding. It was a Saturday and I was walking out of Pasir Ris Park. At the entrance, I saw this reddish-brown bird perched on a dying tree. Because there was no leaves on the tree, I saw it easily. It was at my eye level and staring at me. I whipped out my camera, uncapped the lens cover and set it up for the shot. I was praying the whole time that it will not fly away. I was lucky. The bird stayed and watched a human fumbling and pointing a weird-looking object at it. I got a couple of shots in and went home to tell my wife excitedly about this beautiful bird I just saw. We later identified it as the white-throated kingfisher and the beautiful world of birds opened up to us a little bit more. Little did we know, we go to discover many more of them and all so different from the next one. It makes us humans look extremely boring.
The white-throated kingfisher has a reddish-brown head with a white throat and breast. The brown extends to the upper coverts and below the wings. The back and tail is turquoise. It has a thick and red beak that allows it to grab insects and lizards.When the wings are spread, you can see the primary feathers are white with black tips. The secondary feathers are turquoise. The upper coverts which are brown ends with black tips  too. There are four distinct colours on this bird in different places. How it evolved to have these colours is a mystery.
You can tell it is the mating season when the males gather at a tree and put on a show of dominance. They open up their wings while perching to show off their beautiful feathers. This often leads to a fight where they chases each other around the tree until one gives up.
Most of the time, the white-throated kingfisher is alone. It will perch on wire fence, lamp post, signs and trees where it can get a sight of its surroundings. It stares out into space and appears to be in deep thoughts. It prefers to keep a distance from humans although it is not afraid of them. If you get close to one, it has a way of staring at you that makes you feel like it is looking into your eyes and at your soul.
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