Bulletin 23 - July 1984: White Collared Kingfisher

White Collared Kingfisher (Halcyon chloris kalbaensis)

by J.N.B. Brown

Visiting Khor Kalba at the end of February I spent some time looking for this localised and somewhat elusive kingfisher. One bird was seen at dusk on 26th among the dead mangroves and another just after dawn on 27th in the main channel.

The mangrove (Avicenna marina) covers a large area on the border adjacent to Oman. There are three main channels and some small inlets, the region being tidal and forming a delta for the Wadi Rumh. A small amount of development is taking place, but the locality remains very beautiful at dawn with a high tide and a background of dark mountains. A little port with a few buildings is being built close to the bridge crossing the channel to what was originally an isolated and sandy coastal strip. It is presently used as a recreational area for local picnickers and budding grand prix drivers. Some shooting obviously takes place and all birds are very nervous and do not permit close approach. The area would be very susceptible to oil pollution should any of the tankers waiting offshore accidentally discharge oil.

This subspecies of kingfisher was described in a paper by Graham S. Cowles in 1980, based on a 1971 visit when two specimens were obtained (see Bulletin 13, p. 27). The nearest known populations of related subspecies are in the Red Sea and south of Bombay in India.


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