Zoological Illustrations/VolI-Pl50

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Zoological Illustrations
by William Swainson
Vol I. Pl. 50. Alcedo Asiatica. Asiatic Kingsfisher.
Zoological Illustrations Volume I Plate 50.jpg

ALCEDO Asiatica.

Asiatic Kingsfisher.

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Generic Character.—See Pl. 26.


Specific Character.

A. capite nigro, fasciis transversis cyaneis, posticè cristato; auribus cyaneis; mento, gulâ, strigâque laterali colli albescentibus; dorso nitidè cæruleo; corpore subtùs rufo.
Head black, transversely banded with mazarine blue, the hinder part crested; ears blueish; chin, throat, and lateral stripe on each side the neck whitish; back shining light-blue; body beneath rufous.
Obs. This bird Dr. Horsfield tells me is his Alcedo meninting described in the Linn. Transactions.
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The general resemblance between this and the European Kingsfisher may have been the cause why it has remained hitherto unnoticed by ornithologists. It bears, however, on closer inspection, a strong and peculiar distinction in the crest at the back of the head, in being much smaller in size, and especially as inhabiting the hottest parts of India; while our own braves the cold of a Siberian winter.

Total length six inches, of which the bill from the angle of the mouth to the tip occupies one inch and three-quarters, and is black, with the under mandible paler; the ears and the upper part of the head and neck are blueish-black, transversely banded with somewhat crescent-shaped narrow bands of a rich deep blue, which are broken into spots on the crest and ears: from the base of the under mandible is a black stripe richly glossed with blue, and carried down on each side the neck, between which and the upper part is a whitish stripe beginning just behind the ears (this in the European species is rufous). The wing-covers, scapulars and lesser quills are blackish glossed with blue, the two former having a bright spot at the end of each feather; superior and greater quills entirely blackish; down the middle of the back, rump, and tail-covers, light and vivid blue, with a slight tinge of greenish; chin and throat cream-colour; line between the nostrils and eyes, margin of the shoulders, under wing-covers, and all the lower parts of the body, rufous; tail deep and obscure blue; legs red.

My specimen came from some part of India; I have met with others from the same place; and Dr. Horsfield has likewise observed it in Java.