1534. Alcedo atthis taprobana

(1534) Alcedo atthis taprobana Kleins.
Alcedo atthis taprobana, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 252.
This Southern race is found in Ceylon and in Southern India as far North as Bombay City, Poona, Mt. Aboo, the Southern Deccan and extreme South of Orissa. In the central portions the birds merge into one another, some being nearer laprobana and some nearer bengalensis.
In its breeding habits generally this bird does not differ from the preceding, but it is more of a forest bird, while it has been found breeding in the great Ceylon tanks surrounded by mighty forest and far from open, running water. Phillips also found it making its nest-hole in the bank of a small pit, 100 yards from a stream. A still more curious site is recorded by Davison, who says :— "I once found what may have been intended for a nest in Madras towards the latter end of January, in a well ; what I supposed to be a nest was placed in a hole in the masonry lining of the well, and round the entrance of the hole was accumulated a rather large quantity of small partially decayed fish and fish-bones ; but these had been placed there not apparently as a Hning, but with the object of keeping the eggs in the hole, as it had a perfectly flat floor. I should, however, add that though the bird was in the hole, it contained no eggs, and may therefore have been only a resting place.”
The accumulation of bones seems to be more frequent with this race than with most, Bruce at Ahmednaggar found a layer of fish-bones in two nests examined by him. Davison and Darling also refer to similar layers of fish-bones as being found by them in nest-holes containing fresh eggs.
The tunnels are of no great length ; most are between 2 and 4 feet, many less, few more. The diameter of the tunnel is from 1.3/4 to 2 inches and the chamber about 4 by 5 or a little bigger.
Over most of Southern India March and April are the two chief breeding months, but Davidson and Wenden took eggs at Satara in June, while the former and Butler obtained several nests at Belgaum in August and September containing fresh or hard-set eggs. I have also eggs taken by Barnes at Satpura in February.
In Ceylon they breed practically all the year round. Wait, Phillips and others between them have taken eggs in each month January to June, and again in each month October to December.
Five is the number of eggs most often laid, but Butler took a clutch of seven near Belgaum, and four only are sometimes incubated.
Forty-eight eggs average 20.4 x 17.2 mm. : maxima 21.6 x 17.9 and 20.6 x 18.4 mm. ; minima 19.1 x 15.8 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1534. Alcedo atthis taprobana
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Common Ceylon Kingfisher
Alcedo atthis taprobana
Vol. 3
Term name: 

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