Mystery Bird: Pied Crested Kingfisher, Megaceryle (Alcedo) lugubris

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[Mystery bird] Pied Crested Kingfisher, Crested Kingfisher, Megaceryle (Alcedo) lugubris, photographed at Kosi River, Ramnagar, India. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: John Kneeshaw [larger view].

Canon EOS 40D with 300mmAF lens.

What sex is this bird and upon what are you basing that assessment?

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

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The fine checked pattern and massive build are distinctive; the rufous breastband confirms this is a male. The name reminds me of the painting by Salvador Dali named by the man whose wife would later leave him for Dali.

His beak, stout body, and crest suggest a Kingfisher. Checking for black/white kingfisher's of India further suggests that this little fellow is a Pied Kingfisher. (Perhaps a female, given the more subtle markings?)

By Tavi Greiner (not verified) on 09 Apr 2010 #permalink

Tavi, Pied Kingfishers look similar, but always have bold white "eyebrows," as well as an overall look of larger, contrasting fields of black and white.

Only have a book on SE Asian birds, but if it's a Blue-banded Kingfisher, it's a male because the female would be pale rufous underneath.

By Murray Hansen (not verified) on 09 Apr 2010 #permalink

As a clue Tavi, this is the bigger cousin of your bird.
Carel, sorry I can't unravel your clue and I know what this is!

Not giant, not belted, not ringed. Crested kingfisher (Megaceryle lugubris) from the location, and especially because of the spotted breast and tail.

Yes, Adrian, my tips tend to be something less than obvious. Sorry.
Salvador Dali painted a piece in 1929 that was probably responsible for his being accepted into the little club that was the official Surrealist movement. Like Dada, the movement began as a literary one, and its leader, Andre Breton, originally felt one could not practice surrealism as a painter. During a dinner party at Dali's home, the painting in question impressed Surrealist member and poet Paul Eluard, who recommended that Breton accept the young Spanish painter into their group. That evening Eluard was accompanied by his wife, Gala. She and Dali quickly fell in love and remained inseparable until her death. Paul Eluard suggested a title for the painting, which Dali accepted: "The Lugubrious Game."

This species is not in the genus Alcedo.

yes, it is not Alcedo, now. however, it was placed into Alcedo before being reclassified into Megaceryle.

It's been many many decades since this species was placed in Alcedo. Some books place it in Ceryle rather than Megaceryle.