Bird O'clock

Discover the Stunning Javan Blue-Banded Kingfisher: Facts and Conservation Efforts

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher, also known as the Alcedo euryzona, is a stunning bird that is native to the island of Java in Indonesia. It is renowned for its vibrant blue and orange colors, which make it one of the most striking birds in the world.

This article will provide a detailed description of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher, including its identification, plumages, and molts.

Identification

Field

Identification:

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a small bird, measuring around 16.5cm in length. It has a distinctive blue head, wings, and tail, with orange underparts.

The wings and tail are iridescent, appearing to shine in the sun. The bill is long, straight, and black, with a distinctive yellow tip.

The legs and feet are black, and the eyes are dark brown. Similar Species:

One of the most frequently confused bird species with the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).

The Common Kingfisher is smaller in size, measuring around 13cm in length. It has a similar blue and orange coloration, but the back and shoulders are also blue.

Another similar species is the Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda), which has a more reddish-brown coloration and a larger, heavier bill.

Plumages

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher has two plumages, the breeding, and non-breeding plumage.

Breeding Plumage:

The breeding plumage of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is strikingly beautiful, with a bright blue color on the head, back and wings. The underparts are a vibrant orange color, which makes this bird stand out, even in the dense vegetation of the rainforest.

During this time, the male will also have a distinctive blue band around the neck. This blue band is only visible when the bird is in an upright position.

Non-breeding Plumage:

The non-breeding plumage of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is less vibrant, with a duller blue color on the head, back, and wings. The blue band around the neck of the male is also less prominent.

The orange underparts also become duller during the non-breeding season.

Molts

Like most birds, the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher undergoes molts to replace old feathers with new ones. This process usually happens twice a year, during the non-breeding season.

The molting process starts at the head and progresses down to the tail. The feathers on the wings and tail will usually be the last to molt.

Conclusion

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a stunning bird species that is endemic to the island of Java in Indonesia. It is easily recognized by its vibrant blue and orange coloration, long black bill, and distinctive yellow tip.

This article has provided a detailed description of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher, including its identification, plumages, and molts. By knowing more about this incredible bird species, you will be better equipped to appreciate and admire it when you next see one.

Systematics History

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher, also known as Alcedo euryzona, is part of the Alcedinidae family of birds and was first described by mile Oustalet in 1881. At that time, it was classified as a subspecies of the immaculate kingfisher, which is now considered a separate species.

Geographic Variation

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher has considerable geographic variation across its range, which is limited to the island of Java in Indonesia. Birds found in the eastern parts of Java have a brighter blue coloration on their heads, while birds from the western parts have a greener hue.

The underparts of the bird also vary in color with the western populations having a more orange-yellow color and the eastern populations having a brighter orange color.

Subspecies

According to the International Union for

Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher has two recognized subspecies, which are:

1. A.

e. euryzona – found in the eastern parts of Java, from Mount Lawu to the eastern tip of the island.

2. A.

e. meridionalis – found in the western parts of Java, from Sunda Strait to Mount Lawu.

These subspecies are based on geographic variation in coloration.

Related Species

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is closely related to other species in the Alcedinidae family, which includes over 100 species of kingfishers found throughout the world. The genetic relationships within the family are still being studied, and the placement of some species is still debated.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is an endemic bird species of Java Island in Indonesia. Its range has always been restricted to Java, but there have been historical changes to its distribution.

In the early 20th century, the bird was recorded in a variety of habitats, including lowland forests, rivers, and rice paddies. However, by the 1970s, its population had drastically declined, and it was only found in the Karanganjar region of central Java.

The decline in population has been attributed to habitat loss and hunting for the pet trade. The forests in Java have been cleared for agriculture, and the remaining forests have been severely degraded, leading to the fragmentation of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher’s habitat.

Hunting has also contributed to the decline, as the bird is highly prized for its striking colors and is in high demand as a pet.

Conservation efforts have been implemented over the past few decades to protect the remaining populations of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher. Protected areas have been established in the Karanganjar region to prevent further habitat loss, and efforts have been made to educate the public about the importance of protecting this species.

The bird is also listed as a protected species under Indonesian law, and trade in the bird is illegal. In recent years, there has been some success in rehabilitating the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher’s habitat, and population numbers have shown some signs of recovery.

A captive breeding program has also been established to increase population numbers and ensure the long-term survival of the species.

Conclusion

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a stunning bird species that is native to the island of Java in Indonesia. It is closely related to other species of kingfishers found throughout the world and has considerable geographic variation in coloration.

The bird has experienced significant declines in population due to habitat loss and hunting, but conservation efforts are helping to protect remaining populations and rehabilitate their habitat. With continued efforts, the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher may continue to recover and thrive in the coming years.

Habitat

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher prefers a habitat that includes fast-flowing streams and rivers in primary and secondary forests. The bird primarily lives close to water bodies, from lowlands near the coast to the montane forests of up to 1,500m above sea level.

The water bodies and rivers that the kingfisher prefers must have small fish, insects, and aquatic invertebrates, which make up much of the kingfisher’s diet. The bird is endemic to the island of Java in Indonesia, and its range includes much of the forested areas within the island.

Habitat loss due to deforestation and conversion of forests into agricultural land has significantly reduced the kingfisher’s range over recent years. However, conservation efforts have helped to establish protected areas and prevent further habitat loss for the species.

Movements and Migration

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a non-migratory bird and is likely to maintain a stable home range throughout the year. It does not undertake any long-distance migration, at least none that have been recorded by scientists.

However, it may make some seasonal movements to follow food resources or to establish new territories during the breeding season. The bird’s movements primarily involve foraging and finding suitable breeding sites.

When foraging, the kingfisher perches on a branch near water and waits for prey to pass by. Once spotted, it will dive into the water to capture the prey using its sharp beak.

The preference for fast-flowing freshwater limits its movements as it may find it difficult to adapt to different water types. During breeding season, the male establishes a territory, which it will defend by chasing off other males.

The female will identify a suitable nesting site, usually a woodpecker hole in a tree, and lay two to three eggs. The male brings food to the female who remains on the nest to incubate the eggs while they hatch.

When the chicks are born, both parents help to care for them until they fledge and leave the nest. The lack of migration or long-range movement of Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher presents a challenge for genetic diversity.

Hence, loss of habitat within their restricted distribution would pose a threat to the species.

Conservation

Conservation efforts are ongoing to protect the remaining populations of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher. The species is listed as endangered by the International Union for

Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its population is not considered a stable one.

The main threats that have led to its classification as endangered include deforestation due to land conversion, logging, and forest fires, small-scale logging activities which reduce the potential for old hole-bearing trees that the species uses for breeding, illegal hunting for pet trade and Illegal collection of forest products. Such threats have led to a decline in populations and have scattered the kinfisher’s range, increasing its vulnerability and reducing the potential to intermix.

Recent efforts have been directed at habitat conservation, which includes promoting sustainable forestry, establishing protected areas, and enacting laws to protect the species from hunting and trade. The capture of kingfishers for the pet trade has been considered among main threats and is subject to prohibitions under both local and international law.

Efforts have also been made to educate local communities about the importance of protecting this species, with emphasis on its economic and ecological importance.

Conclusion

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a beautiful bird species endemic to the island of Java in Indonesia. The species is not migratory but is subject to small movements to find food resources and breeding sites and is known to live primarily near swift-flowing water bodies.

The species faces threats from habitat loss due to logging, forest fires, and land conversion to agriculture.

Conservation efforts are ongoing and have been directed toward habitat conservation, elimination of hunting, and protection of key ranges.

Without success, the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher could face extinction, and the current threats require quick action to ensure its survival.

Diet and Foraging

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a carnivore that feeds mainly on small fish, aquatic insects, and other invertebrates. It hunts by perching on a branch over a stream or river and waiting for prey to pass by.

When prey is detected, it dives from the branch to catch it with its sharp beak.

Feeding behavior

The kingfisher feeds alone and uses a sit-and-wait method, using visual and auditory cues to locate prey. It perches lengthwise on a branch over the water with its head tilted downwards, watching the water surface for prey movement.

When prey is detected, the kingfisher plunges its beak deep into the water to catch the prey. The bird then flies back to the perch to consume the prey.

Diet

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher has a varied diet that includes small fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. The diet composition of the bird varies depending on the season and the availability of food resources.

During the breeding season, when the kingfisher must feed its young, it may consume larger prey that are more energy-dense.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Birds have high metabolic rates that allow them to maintain a high body temperature, necessary for optimal functioning of their organs. The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher has a glandular stomach that aids in digestion and processing of food.

Such birds are, therefore, well adapted to survive in tropical environments, the primary habitat they inhabit. Their small, streamlined body-shape, as observed in most kingfishers, helps to reduce energy loss and weariness when diving into water bodies to catch prey.

The kingfisher also employs physiological mechanisms to regulate its body temperature more effectively, such as evaporative cooling through panting or gular fluttering. Panting increases airflow over the respiratory surface, facilitating more efficient heat loss through evaporative cooling.

Gular fluttering, on the other hand, reduces the concentration of oxygen required for cellular respiration, reducing the heat generated by the metabolic process.

Sounds and Vocal

Behavior

Vocalization

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a vocal species that uses a range of calls and songs to communicate with other birds and establish territories. The calls and songs of the species vary between sexes and across different activities, such as courtship and breeding season.

The most common call of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a series of high-pitched notes that can be heard in response to aggression or in-flight warning to other individuals in the territory. Males have a more complex vocal repertoire, with a distinctive trill and several variations compared to females, which tend to have shorter, single notes.

The birds are capable of using a range of sounds, including clicks and whistles or a rapid-fire “chatter,” to communicate.

Breeding pairs use a range of calls to communicate during courtship and breeding. The male will often use calls to defend the breeding territory and to signal to the female when he has found food.

Both males and females will use calls as part of their courtship behavior.

Conclusion

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a stunning bird species with an extensive range of sounds and vocalizations. The bird primarily feeds on small fish, aquatic insects, and other invertebrates, using sit-and-wait foraging behavior to locate and catch prey.

The bird’s metabolism is highly adapted to tropical environments, while various physiological mechanisms help regulate their body temperature. The bird’s vocalizations are an integral part of its communication behavior and play a crucial role in establishing and maintaining territories.

With ongoing conservation efforts, the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher may continue to delight and inspire bird watchers and scientists around the globe.

Behavior

Locomotion:

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is well adapted to moving around in a forest canopy environment, which requires significant agility and maneuverability. It has a streamlined body shape and a strong, muscular build, which enables it to maintain balance while perching on thin branches over water bodies.

The bird is also a skilled flier, capable of swift, agile movements through the dense forest canopy. Self-Maintenance:

Bathing is a crucial aspect of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher’s self-maintenance behavior, and it is known to regularly bathe in water bodies.

During hot weather, the bird may use its bill to preen its feathers, redistributing oils in the feathers and removing overgrown caseous matter. Agonistic

Behavior:

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is a territorial bird and will defend its territory against intruders.

Males will compete for the best territories during the breeding season, using a range of vocal and physical displays to establish dominance and intimidate their rivals. Female birds engage in similar behavior during the selection of a mate.

Sexual

Behavior:

The breeding behavior of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is highly complex and involves a range of displays and vocalizations. Males establish breeding territories and use a range of calls and displays to attract females.

The males will often provide food to the female as part of their courtship behavior. Females are responsible for selecting the nest site and constructing the nest, which is often a hole in a tree trunk.

Breeding

The breeding season of the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher varies depending on the region. In some areas, breeding occurs during the rainy season between November and January, while in other regions, it occurs between May and July.

The males establish a territory and use vocal and physical displays to attract females. The nest is constructed inside a hole in a tree trunk, usually made by woodpeckers, and the female lays two or three eggs.

Both the male and female birds incubate the eggs for approximately 18 to 19 days, and once hatched, both parents care for and feed the chicks. The chicks leave the nest after about 25 to 30 days and become independent.

Demography and Populations

The Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher is classified as endangered by the International Union for

Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to the ongoing threat of habitat loss and subsistence hunting, leading to fragmented populations across Java. Efforts to conserve the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher’s population have been ongoing for several decades, and several initiatives have been established to protect the bird’s habitat.

These efforts include the establishment of protected areas and the implementation of laws and regulations to protect the bird from illegal hunting and trade. There have also been initiatives to encourage sustainable forestry practices that preserve and promote the bird’s habitat.

Population surveys show that the bird’s population is low and is still declining, primarily due to habitat loss

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