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Discover the Fascinating Behavior of the Colorful Blue-eared Kingfisher

The Blue-eared Kingfisher, also known by its scientific name Alcedo meninting, is a beautiful and charismatic bird that can be found in Southeast Asia. Its scientific name means “blue-tailed kingfisher,” and it is named so because of the bright blue feathers on its tail.

In this article, we’ll explore the identification, plumages, and molts of this stunning bird.


The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a small bird that retains its bright colors throughout the year. Its body length ranges from 13-15cm, and its wingspan is approximately 20-22cm.

It has a bright blue back, wings, and tail, with a chestnut belly and bright orange underparts. Its bill is long and slightly curved, with a black upper mandible and cream-colored lower mandible.



When observing Blue-eared Kingfishers in the field, it is essential to look for their distinctive coloration. They have a bright blue back that contrasts with their chestnut belly and orange underparts.

Their bill shape and coloration are also helpful field markings. They often perch on branches near water sources, waiting for prey to pass by.

Similar Species

The Blue-eared Kingfisher may be confused with other kingfishers found in Southeast Asia, such as the Collared Kingfisher and the Stork-billed Kingfisher. However, the Blue-eared Kingfisher is easily distinguishable from these species due to its bright blue back and tail and chestnut belly.


Blue-eared Kingfishers have two primary plumages: the breeding plumage and the non-breeding plumage. They retain their bright colors throughout the year, but the breeding plumage is typically more vibrant and showy.

In breeding plumage, the male’s back and wings are bright blue, and the underparts are a bright orange-red color. The female is slightly duller than the male, with a less vibrant blue back and wings and a paler orange underbelly.

In non-breeding plumage, the male’s feathers become slightly duller, with a less vibrant blue back and wings. The female remains largely unchanged from her breeding plumage.


Like all birds, the Blue-eared Kingfisher molts its feathers. They typically undergo a complete molt after the breeding season in preparation for their non-breeding plumage.

During this time, they replace all their feathers, which takes approximately two to three months. Juvenile Blue-eared Kingfishers have a mottled brown and white plumage.

They molt into their adult plumage as they age, usually after their first year.

In Conclusion

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a stunning bird species found in Southeast Asia. Its bright colors and unique features make it a popular subject for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

By understanding the identification, plumages, and molts of this bird, one can appreciate its beauty and importance in the ecosystem. If you want to learn more about this bird species, consider visiting a local birdwatching group or exploring educational resources online.

The Blue-eared Kingfisher, also known as Alcedo meninting, belongs to the family Alcedinidae and is widely distributed across Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Brunei. In this expansion article, we’ll explore the history of its systematics, geographic variation, subspecies, related species, and historical changes to its distribution.

Systematics History

The systematics history of the Blue-eared Kingfisher dates back to the 18th century when Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician, described it for the first time in his book “Systema Naturae” as Alcedo meninting. At the time, Linnaeus grouped all kingfishers into a single genus, Alcedo, which is now divided into several genera.

In the early 20th century, a systematic revision of the Alcedinidae family was undertaken, and the Blue-eared Kingfisher was placed in a monotypic genus, Micropallas, by Ernst Mayr, a renowned evolutionary biologist. Later, in the mid-20th century, new classification systems for kingfishers were proposed, and the Blue-eared Kingfisher was moved to the genus Alcedo.

Recent molecular studies, however, have revealed that the Blue-eared Kingfisher is genetically divergent from other members of the Alcedo genus, and a new genus, Todiramphus, has been proposed for it.

Geographic Variation

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a highly variable bird in terms of its geographic distribution. There are several distinct populations of this species across Southeast Asia, and they differ in their physical characteristics such as coloration, size, and bill morphology.

These differences have led scientists to recognize several subspecies of the Blue-eared Kingfisher.


Currently, seven subspecies of the Blue-eared Kingfisher are recognized:

1. Alcedo meninting meninting: Found in Sumatra, Java, and Bali, this subspecies is the nominate form and has a bright blue rump and tail.

2. Alcedo meninting collaris: Found in southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, and Borneo, this subspecies has a narrow white collar on the lower neck.

3. Alcedo meninting eximia: Found on the island of Borneo, this subspecies is larger than the other subspecies and has broader wings and a longer tail.

4. Alcedo meninting dammermani: Found on the Natuna Islands, this subspecies has darker blue upperparts and a brownish-red chest.

5. Alcedo meninting yuanensis: Found in southern China, this subspecies has a more extensive white breast and throat and longer wings than other subspecies.

6. Alcedo meninting camela: Found in the Philippines, this subspecies has a reddish-brown chest that contrasts with its blue-green upperparts.

7. Alcedo meninting stictoptera: Found in Sulawesi and nearby islands, this subspecies has a more extensive white collar and a buffy-orange underbelly.

Related Species

The Blue-eared Kingfisher belongs to the family Alcedinidae, which includes the largest family of kingfishers worldwide. Its closest relatives are the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), the Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus), and the Torresian Kingfisher (Todiramphus sutorius).

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a non-migratory species, and its distribution is highly dependent on the availability of freshwater habitats. This habitat requirement has made it susceptible to habitat degradation and loss due to human activities such as deforestation, dam construction, and agricultural practices, leading to historical changes in its distribution.

Historical records from the early 1900s show that the Blue-eared Kingfisher was abundant in Singapore and Malaysia. However, by the mid-1900s, its range had contracted, and the species became extinct in Singapore due to habitat destruction.

In Indonesia, the species is still found in suitable habitats, but deforestation and habitat loss pose a significant threat to its survival.

In Conclusion

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a highly variable bird species found across Southeast Asia. The scientific understanding of its systematics history has evolved over time, with new genetic studies leading to the proposal of a new genus for this species.

The Blue-eared Kingfisher’s geographic variation has led to the identification of several subspecies, and historical changes in its distribution highlight the need for conservation efforts to prevent further habitat degradation and loss. As we learn more about this species and its evolutionary history, we can better appreciate its beauty and ecological significance in its natural habitat.

The Blue-eared Kingfisher, also known as Alcedo meninting, is a colorful bird with a broad geographic range in Southeast Asia. In this article, well explore the habitats where Blue-eared Kingfishers are found and their movements and migration patterns.


Blue-eared Kingfishers are primarily found in freshwater habitats such as streams, rivers, swamps, and forests near water sources. They are most commonly found in tropical rainforests, but they can also be seen in mangrove forests and scrublands.

Blue-eared Kingfishers are territorial birds that inhabit specific stretches of freshwater systems, and the availability of prey is a critical factor determining where they will establish their territories. In Indonesia, the Blue-eared Kingfisher is often found in lowland forest habitats, but it can also be seen in hill and montane forests.

The Blue-eared Kingfisher has been known to inhabit urban parks and gardens as well, often near large water bodies or ponds.

Movements and


The Blue-eared Kingfisher is generally considered to be a non-migratory species, although some individuals may move regionally in search of food or breeding sites. While they do not migrate over long distances, their habitat requirements and food availability may change throughout the year, leading them to move to different areas within their home ranges.


Blue-eared Kingfisher breeding season varies depending on the subspecies and location. In general, breeding occurs between January and June, and it is usually triggered by changing weather and rainfall patterns.

Males establish territories through vocalization and aggressive displays toward other males. Once a territory is established, a male may engage in courtship displays to attract a female.

Both males and females work together in excavating burrows for nesting and raising their young.


The Blue-eared Kingfisher is considered a non-migratory species overall, but there has been some evidence of regional movements in certain populations. These movements generally occur within a bird’s home range, and the reasons for the movements are often related to changes in prey availability or habitat suitability.

For example, in areas where water sources may dry up during certain seasons, Blue-eared Kingfishers may move to more suitable locations to breed or simply to survive. In some of the southern range of the species, such as Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, populations of Blue-eared Kingfishers may move less during the year.

In contrast, northern populations (such as those in China) have been observed to move south during the non-breeding season. The extent of these regional movements and migration patterns is still being studied, and with advances in tracking technology, it is becoming easier to monitor bird movements more closely.

Conservation Implications

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is considered a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but some subspecies have begun to show signs of population decline, particularly in areas where habitat destruction is widespread. Urbanization, deforestation, and river damming have all contributed to habitat loss which impacts bird distribution and abundance.

Therefore, there are still conservation implications of the Blue-eared Kingfisher related to the deterioration of Southeast Asian ecosystems.

In Conclusion

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a colorful and charismatic bird species found primarily in freshwater habitats in Southeast Asia. While they are generally considered non-migratory, their movements and migration patterns can be influenced by changes in habitat conditions or food availability.

Increased tracking technology illuminates the movements and distributions of these birds and has implications for their conservation status. The Blue-eared Kingfisher, also known by its scientific name Alcedo meninting, is a brightly colored bird native to Southeast Asia.

In this article, we’ll discuss the bird’s diet and foraging habits as well as its unique vocal behavior.

Diet and Foraging


The Blue-eared Kingfisher is an ambush predator, sitting very still for extended periods before pouncing on prey with its sharp beak. They are often seen perching on branches or other structures near water sources.


Blue-eared Kingfishers primarily feed on small fish, insects, and crustaceans. The exact makeup of their diet can vary depending on their habitat and location, but overall, they are opportunistic feeders that will take advantage of whatever prey is easiest to catch.

Studies have shown that the Blue-eared Kingfisher is capable of adjusting its diet according to seasonal changes in prey availability. During the breeding season, they tend to feed more on aquatic insects, while during the non-breeding season, they focus more on catching small fish.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is able to maintain its body temperature through a process called torpor, which is a temporary reduction in metabolic rate and body temperature. This allows the bird to conserve energy during periods when food is scarce.

The bird’s metabolism is also affected by its diet. A recent study found that when Blue-eared Kingfishers were fed fish, their metabolism was higher than when they were fed insects.

This suggests that the bird’s diet can affect its energy expenditure and hence its ability to maintain its body temperature.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The Blue-eared Kingfisher is an incredibly vocal bird that has a wide range of calls. They use vocalizations to communicate with other birds in their territory, to attract a mate during breeding season, and to defend their territory from intruders.

One of the most common calls made by the Blue-eared Kingfisher is a series of high-pitched whistles. Researchers have found that males tend to produce more calls than females, and that the timing and frequency of calls can vary depending on the bird’s mood, age, and breeding status.

In addition to whistles, Blue-eared Kingfishers also produce a range of other sounds, including trills, chatters, and harsh notes. The precise function of each sound is not fully understood, but it is believed that they are used in different contexts to communicate various messages.

Studies have also shown that the Blue-eared Kingfisher is capable of distinguishing between individual calls made by other birds. This ability suggests that the birds are able to recognize other members of their own species based on their vocalizations.

In Conclusion

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is a fascinating bird with unique adaptations that allow it to thrive in Southeast Asian freshwater habitats. Its diet and foraging habits demonstrate its opportunistic and adaptable nature, while its vocal behavior highlights the complex communication patterns that exist within bird populations.

Understanding the nuances of these behaviors can help us better appreciate the beauty and importance of this stunning bird species. The Blue-eared Kingfisher, also known as Alcedo meninting, is a colorful bird species found across Southeast Asia.

In this article, we’ll delve further into the behavior of this fascinating bird and explore its locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, sexual behavior, breeding, and demography and populations.



The Blue-eared Kingfisher is an active bird that is frequently seen perched on branches near water sources. They are also known for their swift and agile flight, which they utilize to catch prey.

Their flight is often short and punctuated with brief perching periods. When hunting, the Blue-eared Kingfisher uses a sit and wait strategy, perching silently, analyzing the surroundings, and then making a swift dive when a prey target is identified.

They can propel themselves forward quickly with their powerful muscles, extending their beaks forward to grasp their prey.

Self Maintenance

Like many bird species, Blue-eared Kingfishers engage in self-maintenance activities such as preening to keep their feathers clean and arranging feathers to maintain their insulation levels.

Agonistic Behavior

Blue-eared Kingfishers are territorial birds and will defend their territories from intruders. Their agonistic behavior may include visual displays such as head bobbing and wing flapping as well as vocalizations, such as calls and alarm cries.

Sexual Behavior

During the breeding season, Blue-eared Kingfishers engage in courtship displays to attract potential mates. Courtship includes a range of behaviors such as vocalizations, wing-flapping, and calling to one another.


Breeding in Blue-eared Kingfishers occurs in various cycles depending on population and geography. Males will establish territories and attract mates through vocalizations and displays.

Once paired, males and females will work to excavate tunnels in the earth bank near a freshwater source where they will lay their eggs. The female will typically lay up to five small eggs that incubate for around three weeks until they hatch.

Both males and females typically participate in feeding the chicks until they fledge, which occurs after 20 to 23 days.

Demography and Populations

The population of Blue-eared Kingfishers appears to be stable throughout most of its range, and the species is currently classified as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, there are records of population declines in some regions, including urbanized areas with significant habitat loss.

Accurate population surveys of Blue-eared Kingfishers can be challenging to execute due to the habitat preference of these birds, which means they live in the vicinity of freshwater sources, which can be limited or difficult to access. In principle, stable habitat conservation efforts are necessary to maintain the widespread Blue-eared Kingfisher population.

In Conclusion

The Blue-eared Kingfisher is

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