Nature India | Indigenus

Nature India Photo Story: The kingfisher feeds

Chuffed with the response to the annual Nature India Photo Contests (1, 2, 3), and humbled with the number of requests we get to publish photo stories, we are happy to start a blog series called the ‘Nature India Photo Story‘. The series will accept photo stories that explore the realms of science, wildlife, environment, health or anything that smells science.

For our inaugural post in the series, we feature Deepak Sahu, one of the winners of the Nature India Photo Contest 2016. Deepak, a Bhubaneswar-based IT professional with a passion for photography and travel has captured intricate details of the feeding behaviour of kingfishers in a series of telling pictures.

The kingfisher feeds

By Deepak Sahu

Kingfishers generally hunt by sitting on a high perch and keeping a watch on the surroundings for potential prey. They usually chose a perch around lakes, ponds, rivers and even farming fields. Once a kingfisher spots a prey, it swoops down and seizes it in its bill to return to the same perch or another one nearby.

Kingfishers not only eat fish but a wide range of foods. These may include invertebrates like worms, centipedes (above), insects (below), molluscs and crustaceans. They also eat vertebrates like amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

When they catch a fish, they casually toss fish into the air to reposition it for swallowing head first. They sometimes beat big fish to break their spine, which might otherwise cause harm to the bird when swallowing.

In this picture sequence (clockwise from left) a white-throated kingfisher is shown tossing its kill and then swallowing it.

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Deepak Sahu

I shot these pictures at Kanjia Lake near the State Botanical Gardens, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. I visit the place frequently for its rich faunal activity. One can see many species of birds like cormorants and ducks during the winter migration time, kingfishers, jacana, moorhens, peafowl and animals like snakes, langurs, mongoose and monitor lizard.

Wildlife and nature photography has helped me admire raw nature. It gives me an immense sense of unwinding and peace. It has also increased my knowledge about animal behaviour and their habitats. Wildlife photography has allowed me to explore a lot of new places and see wild animals I thought never existed.

I try to capture moments which I may never see again. Photographs immortalise those moments and also bring awareness towards conservation of many wild species.

You can follow this blog series online with the hashtag #NatureIndphotostory. If you have a photo story to tell, email your high resolution entries with a short narration and a couple of lines about yourself to npgindia@nature.com with the subject line “Nature India Photo Story”. If it appeals to our editorial team, your photo story might get featured on this blog.

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