1532. Ceryle lugubris guttulata

(1532) Ceryle lugubris guttulata Stejneger.
The Himalayan Great Pied Kingfisher.
Ceryle lugubris guttulata, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 248.
This fine Kingfisher is found in the lower hills of the Himalayas from Kashmir to Assam and over the whole of the Burmese hills as far South as Amherst in Tenasserim. Forrest also obtained it in Yunnan, It is most common between 1,000 and 2,000 feet in Assam, where it is seldom seen over 3,000, but in the Western Himalayas it is common up to about 3,000 feet and has been recorded up to 7,000 feet.
This Kingfisher breeds in the banks of streams running through forest and always where the water is flowing bright and clear, in rapids and pools, but not in a rushing torrent. Stagnant and discoloured water is avoided altogether, and I have never seen it about forest pools and swamps, Hume found a brood of young birds in a hole in the hank of a stream near Subatoo, and this, with the exception of my own account of its breeding, is the only note in ‘Nests and Eggs,’ as Thompson’s note is valueless.
Rattray once took a clutch of four eggs near Mussoorie on the 15th May. This also was in a large chamber at the end of a very short tunnel, similar to that found by Hume and others found by myself. Whymper, however, who has had greater success with this bird than anybody else, finding several nesting tunnels in the high gravelly banks of the Gola and Kosi streams in the Kuman below Naini Tal between 1,500 and 2,000 feet, describes the tunnels as long. In one he says that the tunnel was 8 feet long and in others about 0 feet, although the soil was not exceptionally easy to work. They were all placed fairly high up in the banks, as were those Rattray and I found, and all the tunnels graded upwards towards the chamber, which was very large, measuring a foot or over each way and about 8 or 9 inches high. The tunnel entrance is over 4 inches wide.
The eggs found by me, four in number, were lying on a mass of fish-bones, exceedingly malodorous and, quite possibly, the remains of the food supplied to a previous brood of young. Neither Rattray nor Whymper found any bones in the egg-chamber, and it seems certain that these merely accumulate as the young are fed and throw up the undigested portions.
The breeding season is undoubtedly March and April, Whymper obtained all his in these months, and Rattray’s eggs taken on the 15th May and mine in June were no doubt second layings.
The full clutch is four or five, but the young seem to come to grief early, as one seldom sees more than two young birds with the old ones.
Twenty eggs average 38.5 x 32.5 mm, : maxima 39.4 x 31.0 and 39.0 x 35.0 mm. ; minima 37.3 x 30.1 mm.
There is nothing on record as to which sex incubates or digs out the nesting hole.
The Cacharis informed me that this bird sometimes bred inside forests, making the nest-holes in banks, but I have never seen such. On the other hand, I have seen one nest-hole in the bank -of a ravine just where it debouched into the stream itself.

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: 
1532. Ceryle lugubris guttulata
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Himalayan Great Pied Kingfisher
Megaceryle lugubris guttulata
Vol. 3

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