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Crab Eating by White-breasted Kingfisher


On 24th December 1992, while I was watching some waders in a nullah near our house in Panchwati in Udaipur, I saw a White breasted Kingfisher dart into the shallows of the nullah and fly away with a crab in its beak.

It perched on a Babool tree (Acacia nilotica), but remained there only for a short time before it flew to the roof of a nearby house and started battering the crab on the roof. Probably something disturbed it again and it flew and settled on a high and dense part of a Babool tree.

Here again it battered the crab on a branch and broke off a leg. It changed the position of the crab in its beak and started beating it on the branch of the tree. In this fashion it removed all the appendages of the crab in 13 minutes.

Then it started to press the body of the crab in its beak. After 12 minutes of this labour, it shaped the body of the crab to suit its gullet and gulped it down.

Published in Journal of Bombay Natural History Society:

Tehsin, R. H. (1995) Crab-Eating By White Breasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis Linn. J. Bom. Nat. Hist. Soc. 92(1): 121

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