Birds of Egypt: “Fairuz,” The Collared Kingfisher

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This bright little beauty is what a cheap firework dreams of being when it grows up.
“Fairuz,” or, as this word is translated into English, “Turquoise,” is this gorgeous bird’s name in Egypt. They are outstanding fishers, diving for their prey from high in the air. Collared Kingfishers often hang out around the canals lining two sides of our property, and I love to watch them flapping their wings as they hover in place above the water. Soon the moment is right and he flashes like the blue flame of a match being thrown into the water. I swear the water sizzles instead of splashes as he dives, spearing or catching the little fish with his long, sharp bill.

Mr. Fairuz sounds just like a screeching firework blasting across the sky, a high-pitched, fast paced EE-EE-EE-EE-EE-EE-EE-EE that can carry on until he passes out of earshot, or explode in a short burst above you as he jumps from tree to tree. He sounds like he’s got a pinwheel installed in his voice box, chopping his screech into mechanically measured beats. Even more fascinating, he sometimes winds up his screeching, slowly as the pinwheel turns in a light breeze, and picking up speed as his engines warm up. Then he flashes through the sky in an amazing burst of bright blue feathers and screeching fit for the jungle. And he can purr, too! I often hear him calling softly, in the early dawn hours, from his perch on a tree limb overhanging the little canal outside our window. Softly, quietly, high-pitched purring, “eeee,ee,ee,ee,ee,ee,ee,ee,eeee,” “eeee,ee,ee,ee,ee,ee,ee,eeee,” over and over as a leisurely little song welcoming the sun’s early rays.

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everything else Mr. Fairuz wants you to know about him can be found, of course, at Wikipedia:

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris humii

Scientific Classification
Kingdom:Animalia Phylum:Chordata Class:Aves Order:Coraciiformes Family:Halcyonidae Genus:Todiramphus Species:Binomial name Todiramphus chloris
(Boddaert Synonyms: Halcyon chloris,Todirhamphus chloris)

The  (Todiramphus chloris) is a medium-sized kingfisher belonging to the family Halcyonidae, the tree kingfishers. It has a wide range extending from the Red Sea across southern Asia and Australasia to Polynesia. It is a very variable species with about 50 subspecies.


The Collared Kingfisher is 22 to 29 cm (8.7 to 11 in) long and weighs 51 to 90 g (1.8 to 3.2 oz). It varies from blue to green above while the underparts can be white or buff. There is a white collar around the neck, giving the birds its name. Some races have a white or buff stripe over the eye while others have a white spot between the eye and bill. There may be a black stripe through the eye. The large bill is black with a pale yellow base to the lower mandible.

Females tend to be greener than the males. Immature birds are duller than the adults with dark scaly markings on the neck and breast.

It has a variety of calls which vary geographically. The most typical call is loud, harsh and metallic and is repeated several times.

Small crabs are the favoured food in coastal regions but a wide variety of other animals are eaten including insects, worms, snails, shrimps, frogs, lizards and small fish. The bird perches almost motionless for long periods waiting for prey. When it spots something it glides down to catch it and then flies back to the perch where larger items are pounded against the branch to subdue them. Any indigestible remains are regurgitated as pellets.


The nest is a hole, either a natural tree hole or a burrow excavated by the birds themselves in a rotten tree, termite mound or earth bank. They will also occupy old woodpecker holes. Two to seven rounded whitish eggs are laid directly on the floor of the burrow with no nest material used. Both parents take part in incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks. The young birds leave the nest about 44 days after hatching. Two broods are often raised in a year.

Distribution and habitat

It is most commonly found in coastal areas, particularly in mangrove swamps. It also inhabits farmland, open woodland, grassland and gardens. In some parts of its range, especially on islands, it can be seen further inland, ranging into forest or into mountain areas. Birds often perch conspicuously on wires, rocks or bare branches.

The most subspecies that occurs furthest west in the Eurasian/African landmass is T. c. abyssinica of north-east Africa which is found in patches of mangroves in Eritrea and has also been recorded from Sudan and Somalia. Further east in Arabia is the endangered race T. c. kalbaensis with a population of 55 pairs or fewer; these are almost entirely restricted to Khor Kalbain the United Arab Emirates but breeding has also occurred recently at Khor Shinass in Oman. Further subspecies occur locally around the coasts of India and Bangladesh and on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In Southeast Asia and Indonesia the species is widespread and common, occurring far inland in some regions. It once more becomes a mainly coastal species in New Guinea and in northern Australia where it occurs from Shark Bay, Western Australia around to north-east New South Wales. On the Pacific islands it is usually common in a variety of coastal and inland habitats with various subspecies present on the Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, American Samoa, Palau and the Northern Marianas.

List of subspecies

There are numerous subspecies in the species’ largely coastal and insular range from the Red Sea to central Polynesia, with the greatest concentration of taxa in Melanesia:[2]

Red Sea and Arabian coasts[edit] T. c. abyssinicus (Pelzeln, 1856) – southern Red Sea coasts of Somalia and Arabia T. c. kalbaensis (Cowles, 1980) – south Arabian coast India and Indian Ocean[edit] T. c. vidali (Sharpe, 1892) – western India from Ratnagiri to Kerala T. c. davisoni (Sharpe, 1892) – Andaman Islands T. c. occipitalis Blyth, 1846 – Nicobar Islands South East Asia[edit] (Sharpe, 1892) – coasts of West Bengal eastwards to Burma (including the Mergui Archipelago), the Malay Peninsula, Tioman and north-eastern Sumatra (Sharpe, 1892) – interior of Burma and Thailand, Indochina and eastern ChinaT. c. laubmannianus (Grote, 1933) – Sumatra and Borneo, including intervening islands.T. c. chloropterus (Oberholser, 1919) – islands off western Sumatra (Oberholser, 1919) – EngganoT. c. palmeri (Oberholser, 1919) – Java, Bali, Bawean and Kangean Islands (Scopoli, 1786) – Philippines Wallacea, New Guinea and northern Australia[edit] (Boddaert, 1783) – Talaud and Sangihe Islands through Sulawesi to the Lesser Sundas, West Papuan Islands and north-western New GuineaT. c. sordidus (Gould, 1842) – Aru Islands, and northern and north-eastern coasts of Australia T. c. pilbara (Johnstone, 1983) – coastal north-western Australia from the De Grey River to Exmouth Gulf Micronesia[edit] (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1915) – Palau (Rothschild, 1904) – Asuncion, Agrihan, Pagan and Alamagan T. c. albicilla (Dumont, 1823) – Saipan and Tinian (Takatsukasa & Yamashina, 1931) – Rota Melanesia[edit]Papua New Guinea islands (Heinroth, 1902) – St Matthias Islands (Heinroth, 1902) – New Hanover, New Ireland and the Feni Islands T. c. novaehiberniae (Hartert, 1925) – south-west New Ireland. T. c. bennetti (Ripley, 1947) – Nissan Island (Laubmann, 1923) – islands between mainland New Guinea and New Britain (E. L. Layard, 1880) – New Britain (Hartert, 1896) – Louisiade Archipelago Solomon Islands (Rothschild & Hartert, 1905) – western and central Solomon Islands T. c. pavuvu (Mayr, 1935) – Pavuvu (Mayr, 1935) – Malaita (E. P. Ramsay, 1882) – Makira and adjacent islands (I. C. J. Galbraith & E. H. Galbraith, 1962) – Malaupaina and Malaulalo (Mayr, 1931) – Rennell and Bellona (Mayr, 1931) – Nendo and Tinakula T. c. brachyurus (Mayr, 1931) – Reef Islands (Mayr, 1931) – Duff Islands T. c. utupuae (Mayr, 1931) – Utupua T. c. melanodera (Mayr, 1931) – VanikoroVanuatu (Mayr, 1931) – Hiw and Lo (Mayr, 1931) – Banks Islands southwards to Espiritu Santo and Malo (Heine, 1860) – Aoba and Maewo southwards to Efate (Mayr, 1938) – Erromango and Anatom (Sharpe, 1892) – Tanna Fiji T. c. vitiensis (Peale, 1848) – Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Viti Levu, Koro, Ovalau and Gau (Mayr, 1941) – Lau Archipelago (Mayr, 1941) – Kadavu Polynesia[edit] (Mayr, 1941) – Futuna T. c. pealei (Finsch & Hartlaub, 1867) – Tutuila (Mayr, 1941) – Ofu-Olosega and Tau (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – central and southern Tonga

Click here for the Next Bird in the Series, “Um Uway’e,” The Little Owl OR Click Here for the Previous Bird in the Series, “Hud Hud,” The Hoopoe


12 thoughts on “Birds of Egypt: “Fairuz,” The Collared Kingfisher

    • Ohhh Hurrayyyyy!!! You made my day, or week to be sure, Sweetie, for leaving me a comment here! I’m so happy to see you! Yes, this blue color on the fairuz is awesome, isn’t it?
      XOXOXOXO 😀 😀 ;^)
      (lol I won’t make such a fuss next time,but visit me here more often, ok?!)


        • Really! I also don’t know who’s reading it either. But if you hit the other button that says follow by email it’s supposed to send an email… I have to do the same with you, too, I have the same problem! But I’m glad you like it here – I love your writing, too! Lol I also love your photos, of course! XOXOX0 ;^)


  1. Nice to meet you Mr Fairuz! I so much like your profile and your brilliant portrait! Please tell Aisha that she has a good eye or quality captures and give her my love anda big hug, Doda 🙂 xxx

    PS : Sending love your way,dear Alisha,hope you receive my comments which I write from my tab 🙂
    If you notice any ( sing – sign ) please start singing for me … lolt


    • Mr. Fairuz is singing to me all morning about a sweet Greek girl he met and fell in love with, Doda, and I told him her name is Doda! He was so happy to meet you too! Lol, I’m so happy you enjoyed this nice bright fellow, he’s quite a famous character around here. They are all busy raising babies now, much quieter now that they found their mates and built their nests. It’s really joyfully noisy with their fireworks blasting through the sky all day long in the mating season! I have a great digital sound recorder and would love to record the noises but life is already too busy, I know you know what I mean!
      Thanks again for visiting me, Dear, I’m really happy that you enjoyed it! ♥♥♥ ;^)


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