The Rufous Backed Kingfisher is a unique and remarkable species. This avian manages to combine extreme beauty with a decidedly interesting behavior.
Yet, this delicate little animal has an unusual nesting pattern. But then, great beauties are often quirky. The bird constructs a nest that is actually in the form of a horizontal tunnel. These distinctive nests may be as much as roughly 40 in. (1 m) in length.
For a bird of their small size, this is extremely oversized. Perhaps they like room to stretch their wings.
Rufous Backed Kingfisher Physical Description
The Rufous backed Kingfisher averages approximately 5.1 in (13 cm) in length.
Their coloring is kaleidoscopic in nature with the upper side of their backs and wings typically a bright red and yellow. Yet the body is predominantly a bright yellow, with bluish-black patches.
The beak is quite unusual – it is both oversized in relation to the diminutive body, and is also a bright reddish-orange in color.
While most birds in the Kingfisher family possess four toes, this species possesses only three on their feet.
Rufous Backed Kingfisher Distribution and Ecology
The Rufous Backed Kingfisher is endemic to a wide swathe of Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. This has thankfully helped their population to remain reasonably stable.
Unlike most Kingfishers, this one solely inhabits dense tropical forest where their coloring blends in beautifully. Also, they are almost always present near free-flowing streams.
Consequently, their typical diet consists of geckos, crabs, snails, frogs, and a wide variety of insects.
Breeding season begins with the onset of seasonal monsoons. Once laid, the eggs remain under the care of both parents.
Ornithologists are currently undecided as to the existence of any subspecies.