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Common Name : White-breasted Kingfisher     -       Scientific Name : Halcyon smyrnensis       -       Other Name : White-throated Kingfisher (E), Pilihuduwa (S)
Aalam Villu
Aalam Villu

This is a common breeding resident in the country. It occupies a wide range in the world from Bulgaria in Europe to the Philippines in Asia. This kingfisher is common throughout the Indian sub continent. In Sri Lanka it is a very common species, which is found throughout the island except for the highest hills.

Four subspecies of this Kingfisher have been recognized.

  • H.s. smyrnensis is found in Turkey, Northern and Central Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Northwestern India, China, Taiwan and the Philippines, South Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Java.
  • H.s.fusca is found in India, Sri Lanka, South China, Taiwan, Sumatra and West Java.
  • H.s.saturatior is found in the Andaman Islands.
  • H.s.gularis is found in the Philippines.


The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012).

White-breasted Kingfisheris a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

This is the only species of Kingfisher in the country that can be observed even away from water bodies. It is a common bird that can be observed perched on the electricity cables along many roads in Sri Lanka. I have observed this species to be equally common throughout the island in forested areas, agricultural lands, and towns and even in built up cities such as Colombo.

The success of this species in occupying many habitats is its powerful beak, which allows it to defend its self and prey on insects to small birds. I have observed them catching, sub adult Common Garden Lizards Calotes versicolor, Skinks, land crabs and insects. There are many reports of this species preying on Sunbirds and even Small White-eyes.

In Wilpattu this is very common species that can be seen throughout the park.