Halcyon smyrnensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Coraciiformes Alcedinidae

Scientific Name: Halcyon smyrnensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English White-breasted Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes:

Halcyon smyrnensis and H. gularis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as H. smyrnensis following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; Egypt; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Macao; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Syrian Arab Republic; Thailand; Turkey; Viet Nam
Bulgaria; Cyprus; Greece; Qatar; Taiwan, Province of China; United Arab Emirates
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:24700000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population size has not been quantified, though in Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 170-260 pairs, which equates to 340-520 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), with Europe forming <5% of the global range.

Trend Justification:  The species is suspected to be increasing owing to its ability to colonise gardens and palm oil plantations. Its range has expanded into Sumatra but it appears to be absent from Singapore where it previously occurred (del Hoyo et al. 2001). In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by at least 10% in 11.4 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:UnknownContinuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species uses a wide variety of habitats including dams, ponds, canals, creeks, swamps, mudflats, beaches with coconut palms and trees, mangrove edges, Nipa palm swamps, oil palm plantations, farmland, rice fields, large gardens, roadside trees, light industrial sites, bamboo forest and dry deciduous forest. It usually avoids dense forest except for clearings and is less common above 2,000 m (Woodall and Kirwan 2016). Breeding birds have been recorded in April and May in Europe, it lays in June in Egypt, April-May in Israel and Iraq, March-April and July in Pakistan, mainly April-July in India, May in Bhutan, April in Myanmar, mainly March-April in Sri Lanka, December-early August in Malaysia and March-April in Thailand and Sumatra (Woodall and Kirwan 2016). The species is considered monogamous, but the presence of three birds in some areas suggests possibility of communal breeding. The nest is usually excavated in an earthen bank of a ditch, stream, river, pond or road cutting and can also sometimes be in a termitarium, rock crevice, tree or mud hole. The nest-chamber is normally up to 15–23 cm wide and 13 cm high, at the end of an inclined tunnel 30–150 cm long. Clutches can be between four and seven eggs but usually five or six. The diet is widely variable and includes insects, scorpions, centipedes, snails, crustaceans, earthworms, fish, frogs and toads, lizards, chameleons, snakes, birds, voles, mice and squirrels. It hunts from a perch and will batter prey before swallowing it. Many populations exhibit partial short-distance migration, with seasonal changes in abundance, probably involving mostly juveniles (Woodall and Kirwan 2016).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):3.8
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Little is known about the threats facing this species. Habitat degradation from factors such as irrigation, overgrazing, dam construction and erosion as well as  are recorded in areas where the species in present (Ozturk et al. 2012) and may be a threat to this species. The use of pesticides may also be a problem (Ozturk et al. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are no known conservation measures in place for this species within its European range.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Important sites in Europe for the species should be protected owing to the species's restricted European range, this should include legislation to guard sites from development. Research into the species's ecology and habitat needs should be undertaken to inform future conservation measures and help assess potential threats and their impacts in order to develop appropriate responses.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Altered occurrence to vagrant in a UAE.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Halcyon smyrnensis (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22725846A119289544. . Downloaded on 20 August 2018.
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