Halcyon smyrnensis 

Scope: Europe
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: Vulnerable C1; D1 (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)
EU27 regional assessment: Not Applicable (NA)

In Europe this species has a small, declining population and is therefore classified as Vulnerable (C1, D1).

The bird is considered vagrant in the EU27 and is assessed as Not Applicable (NA) for this region.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species has a predominantly Asian distribution, which just extends into south-eastern Europe, in western and southern Turkey (Woodall and Kirwan 2015). Formally its northernmost breeding locality was Izmir, where the species was described, but has not occurred for many decades in this area (Snow and Perrins 1998, Woodall and Kirwan 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Azerbaijan; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia)
Bulgaria; Cyprus; Greece
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:12600
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:22725846-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 170-260 pairs, which equates to 340-520 mature individuals. The species does not occur in the EU27. For details of national estimates, see the Supplementary Material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by at least 10% in 11.4 years (three generations). For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22725846_halcyon_smyrnensis.pdf.
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Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:340-520,420Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
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, farmland, large gardens, roadside trees, light industrial sites and dry deciduous forest. It usually avoids dense forest except for clearings and is less common above 2,000 m (Woodall and Kirwan 2015). Breeding birds have been recorded in April and May in Europe (Kirwan et al. 2008). 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. Vagrants have been recorded in Greece, Cyprus and the former U.S.S.R., and individuals may move more than realized (Woodall and Kirwan 2015).
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 in Europe. The small population in Turkey is not widely distributed, with 75% of birds concentrated in five localities. This makes the species vulnerable to any threats (van den Berk and Kasparek 1988). 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.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Due to the restricted range of this species in Europe important sites should be protected, including legislation to guard them 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.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Halcyon smyrnensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22725846A66722858. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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