Sunday Shot: White-throated Kingfisher – Birding In Goa

White-throated Kingfisher in-flight
White-throated Kingfisher in-flight

Diving into the still waters of the Mandovi river at Malim jetty, this in-flight white-throated Kingfisher bird managed to catch a fish. And flew back to the nearby mangroves to relish. Malim jetty located on the northern side of the Mandovi river, by the side of the bridges connecting Panjim and Porvorim, is a jetty exclusively for fishermen. Motorized boats with loads of captured fish are unloaded, sorted, and then packed off in ice by trucks to the consumer destinations.

White-throated Kingfisher

It is interesting to notice that the Kingfisher bird intensely watches the waters. For a considerable time before taking a quick, short, sharp plunge to catch the prey. They don’t dive deep. Nor can they spot the prey in rapidly flowing waters. Hence they perch on the plants, trees, dry poles by the river edge, and lakes to spot the prey. They also pick up insects from the fields while plowing activity is on and the insects deep in the soil get exposed.

This bird (Halcyon smyrnensis) is also known as the white-breasted kingfisher is widely distributed in Asia. It can often be found away from water where it feeds on a wide range of prey that includes small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents, and juvenile birds.

Local names in India

Hindi: Kilkila, Kourilla; Himachal Pradesh: Neela Machhrala; Punjabi: Wadda Machhera; Bengali: Sandabuk Machhranga; Assamese: Masoroka, Gujarati: Kalkaliyo, Safedchati Kalkaliyo; Marathi: Khundya; Tamil: Vichuli; Telugu: Lakmuka, Buchegadu; Malayalam: Ponman; Kannada: Rajamatsi

It is a colorful bird especially in-flight. Reddish large beak, primarily blue feathers with streaks of white and blackish by the borders, white-throat, red feet, brown head are the common features of the bird. It is a common bird of Goa and India. Mostly seen near water bodies and fields.

Recommend you read the following travel blog on birding & bird photography.


  1. Superb photograph!! I have read most of your posts about the birds of goa.. And I love the great “in flight” captures of the birds.. Please do put up a post of this photography as well..

  2. Nice shot Anuradha. Which lens are you using for your regular travels?

    I’m using a 18-55mm kit lens and looking for an upgrade. Would really love to hear some suggestions from you.


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