What is GUAM KINGFISHER?
The Guam kingfisher is a medium-sized bird that has a large head, a strong beak, and loud, raspy calls. They establish and defend nesting territories, defending the space from other birds & animals. Since this species was found only on the island of Guam, it went extinct in the wild and is now known by Chamorro as “sihek”. This species was around for thousands of years but left due to human action.
Guam kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, strong beaks, and bright metallic green-blue wings. Males have a cinnamon-brown body. The female appletree differs from the male by having white breasts with pale feathers and are slightly larger at first. The juveniles are also less colorful at first before they eventually start to lighten up with age and reach maturity.
Birds of prey measure around 22 centimeters (9 inches) in length, and weigh up to 70 grams (2.4 ounces).
Today, Kingfishers are only found in the forests and wetlands of Guam, although they historically ranged across the entire island. Todiramphus reichenbachii and Todiramphus pelewensis are two more similar species on Pohnpei (Pohnpei) and Palau.
Guam kingfishers, under the explicit guidance of an ornithologist, were grown in captivity following the extinction of its wild population. The kingfishers can now be found in diverse habitats including limestone forests, coastlines, and coconut plantations.
The call of the kingfisher is a rough, harsh sound that consists of three to five loud notes and several softer ones.
Unlike many kingfishers, this species does not rely on fish for its diet. It primarily consumes insects, small lizards, and crustaceans which it catches on the ground. Foraging in Guam is one of the most common hunting practices of this kingfisher species. They can be found searching for mealworms, crickets, and anoles in the trees on Earth.
Kingfishers are constantly hunted and they don’t tend to live in large groups. They mostly stick to themselves, or they might even be observed in pairs. Male birds do defend their territory and once paired with a female, the two birds usually defend against other kingfishers that come nearby.
Reproduction and Development
Kingfishers in Guam build nests in tree cavities and both sexes participate. They also seem to play an important role in their bondings. The male and female dig out a hole in a decaying tree up to 8 meters off the ground. They dig through several holes to find one that is just the right size for them to lay their eggs into. This nesting ground, which is a “clutch” of two eggs, is in a central location of their territory.
The incubation period lasts 21-23 days and the parents take care of both babies and the nest. Chickens hatch within 33 days after being laid their eggs. Flock development and co-existence in human care are challenging. Researchers aren’t sure if males and females are capable of breeding together or not, as frequently only a few eggs hatch successfully with the remaining all dying off.
The lifespan of the Guam kingfisher in the wild has not been documented. However, it is believed to live for about 15-20 years in human care.