Stork-billed Kingfisher: The Jewel of Tropical Waters


Meet the Stork-billed Kingfisher, a remarkable bird that dazzles with its vibrant colours and majestic presence. This native of the tropical Indian subcontinent is not just another bird image name you scroll past on social media; it’s a bird lover’s dream come true. With its vast distribution from India to Indonesia, this bird is a fascinating subject whether you are an ornithologist, a bird photographer, or just someone who loves visiting bird sanctuaries. This comprehensive guide’ll delve into the unique features, habitats, and behaviours that make the Stork-billed Kingfisher a standout in the birdlife sanctuary.


Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameStork-billed Kingfisher
2Scientific namePelargopsis capensis
3ColourGreen back, blue wings, olive-brown head
4Average length35 cm (14 in)
5Average height35 cm (14 in) – vertical
6Type of birdTree Kingfisher
7Found in statesThroughout India
8HabitatWell-wooded areas near water bodies
9IUCN StatusNot Classified

Features of the Bird


With an average length of 35 cm (14 in), the Stork-billed Kingfisher is no small bird. This sizable length allows it to hunt various prey, ranging from fish to young bird species. Such a large frame necessitates mighty wings, about 24–26 cm. The width of the wings allows the bird to fly with both speed and precision, essential for catching prey in their natural birdlife sanctuary.


When positioned vertically, the Stork-billed Kingfisher measures the same 35 cm height. While height may not be a significant factor for some birds, it adds to the Stork-billed Kingfisher’s imposing presence. If you are lucky enough to capture this bird in a bird photo, its vertical measurement can make for an impactful frame.

Running Speed

Though not primarily known for their running speed, these birds are agile and quick on their feet, which aids them in hunting and dodging predators. Due to their larger size, they run slower than smaller bird species, but their speed is sufficient for their needs. Their running is often observed near riverbanks and bird sanctuaries, where they make quick dashes to grab their prey.


The Stork-billed Kingfisher is a colourful spectacle and a bird lover’s delight. The adult bird has a green back, blue wings and tail, and an olive-brown head. The variety of hues makes every bird picture or bird PNG of this species a treat for the eyes. If you are an avid bird photographer, capturing the vivid palette of this magnificent creature could be an enthralling experience.

Habitat and Food of the Bird

  1. Geographic Range: The Stork-billed Kingfisher is a resident bird that thrives across the tropical Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Whether you’re in India or Indonesia, you can spot this magnificent bird in a local bird sanctuary or birdlife sanctuary.
  1. Preferred Habitats: This bird favors well-wooded areas adjacent to water bodies. Lakes, rivers, and coasts are ideal locations for them. They avoid open and dry terrains, instead opting for lush, watery environments where they can perch and hunt.
  1. Dietary Versatility: The Stork-billed Kingfisher has a diversified diet. They hunt for fish, frogs, crabs, and rodents. This makes them one of the more versatile birds when it comes to feeding, often seen diving into water bodies to catch their prey.
  1. Territorial Behavior: Despite their beautiful appearance, these birds are fiercely territorial. They chase away any intruding eagles and large predators that might pose a threat. This territoriality is often what keeps them confined to specific regions within their already widespread distribution.
  1. Food Seeking: Unlike other bird species, the Stork-billed Kingfisher perches quietly while seeking food. Its quiet, patient hunting style is an interesting aspect of its bird behavior, making it a fascinating subject for bird photos and observations.

Nesting and Nurturing

If you’re a bird lover keen on learning about bird nests, the Stork-billed Kingfisher offers a fascinating case. Adult birds dig their nests in river banks, decaying trees, or tree termite nests. They usually lay a clutch of two to five round white eggs. If you’re near a bird or birdlife sanctuary, you might even see these bird nests firsthand.


Even these majestic birds are not entirely free from threats. Predators larger than them, and human activities like deforestation and water pollution pose significant risks. Such challenges often lead them to change their bird migration patterns or seek new habitats, which may only sometimes be conducive to survival.

IUCN Status and Conservation

Since my last update in September 2021, the Stork-billed Kingfisher’s IUCN status has not been classified. However, conservation efforts in various bird and birdlife sanctuaries aim to protect this and many other species. Community awareness and protective measures can play a significant role in conserving this splendid bird.


The Stork-billed Kingfisher is undoubtedly a jewel among birds. With its striking colours, impressive size, and captivating behaviours, this bird merits the attention of any bird lover or bird photographer. Whether you’re planning a trip to a bird sanctuary or scrolling through a bird shop near me for binoculars, keep an eye out for this marvellous creature. Its vibrant presence makes your day, and you might even get the perfect bird picture or bird PNG for your collection.

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