Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona)

The Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) is a resident breeding bird in the lowlands of the American tropics from southern Mexico south through Central America to northern Argentina.  This large kingfisher breeds by streams.

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These birds have such a large range in South America you are bound to see them in any tropical rainforest near streams.  This one was in Cristalino.

amazon kfisher

LEARN MORE ABOUT AMAZON KINGFISHERS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Neotropical Birds

VIDEO

This one clearly has something to say – probably “Go away and let me eat in peace”!

 

 

Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

The Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a carnivorous bird in the kingfisher family Halcyonidae. It is probably the most iconic Australian bird and its distinctive “laugh” is as true blue Aussie as you can get.

IMG_9057 IMG_9055 IMG_9026aThey are very clever and more than one picnicker has lost a BBQ steak or bread roll to a swiftly swooping Kookaburra.  We have quite a few of them in our suburb and I often wake up to the laugh outside my window and if you walk through any reserve or national park in Queensland, Victoria or NSW you will most likely see Laughing Kookaburras or even have unexpected guests at your picnic!

KookaburraLEARN MORE ABOUT KOOKABURRAS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

ABC Science

VIDEOS

The best video of the laugh was actually filmed at San Diego zoo.  It’s kind of hard to predict when a wild one will laugh unless you want to sit there and film until it does.  This is how they actually sound in the wild………..or in your backyard!  What a wake up call!

Here’s some wild Kookaburras

And just to show you how iconic they are in Australia, here’s a kid’s song about them!

 

Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus)

The Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) is a medium-sized woodland kingfisher that occurs in mangroves, woodlands, forests, and river valleys in Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the western Pacific. In New Zealand the species is also known by its Māori name kōtare.

It is called “sacred” for it was said to be a holy bird for Polynesians, who believed it to have control over the waves. Likewise, the local subspecies of collared kingfisher and other kingfishers in the southwestern Pacific were ascribed venerable power over the ocean.

IMG_1281a IMG_1279aThey have a very large range throughout Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia so odds are good you will find them on most birding trips in these areas.  I saw the one above at Mosquito Creek Road, South-east Queensland.

SKrangeLEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BIRD

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

VIDEOS

Nice close-ups!

 

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

The White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) also known as the White-breasted Kingfisher or Smyrna Kingfisher, is a tree kingfisher,  widely distributed in Eurasia from Bulgaria, Turkey, West Asia east through the Indian Subcontinent to the Philippines. This kingfisher is a resident over much of its range, although some populations may make short distance movements. It can often be found well away from water where it feeds on a wide range of prey that includes small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents and even birds. During the breeding season they call loudly in the mornings from prominent perches including the tops of buildings in urban areas or on wires.

They are fun to watch and I saw several in Kithulgala.  They were easily seen by their bright blue backs and seemed keen to pose for photos!  This one wanted to make sure I got his best side – both of them!

IMG_3188a IMG_3184a IMG_3212aHe’s got a beakful!

IMG_3238aWhite-throated Kingfishers have a huge range throughout Central and South-east Asia so it shouldn’t be hard to find an award ticket to get to one of their many habitats.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BIRD

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Naturia

VIDEO

Getting ready for a hot date?

This one was happy to hang around and be filmed.

Mileage Earning Credit Cards – Asia, Latin America, Middle East And Africa Edition

There are probably locally based blogs for these areas which would cover how to earn miles from credit card sign up bonuses so what I will do here is create a reference for the major airlines so you can see who partners with what bank, then Google for a local blog that tracks special offers on these cards.  No matter which country you live in, always check with American Express as they have the Membership Rewards program available in most countries but the partners vary widely.

A good rule of thumb no matter where you live is to sign up for your local airline’s program (preferably one in Star Alliance or One World) to get credit card miles and any possible points from everyday living such as shopping, phone, internet, petrol, insurance, etc.   While you are looking at the credit card pages I linked below, always check for any other “everyday” promos.

Then join the 5 main programs I recommend for eco-tourists as I will be concentrating on these when I post special promos.  These programs have the best redemption levels to places where people usually want to go birding and offer the best promos throughout the year.

ASIA

Asians will have a lot of choices as it seems that the main Asian based airlines have partners not only in all Asian countries but some have partners in Australia and the USA as well.  The links below will take you to the airline’s credit card page.  Also check on FlyerTalk in the airline’s forum as people will usually post any new signup bonuses there.  This blogger specifically caters to Indians with mileage earning credit cards and he would be more familiar with that market.

Cathay Pacific

Singapore Airlines

Thai Airways

Malaysian Airlines

Garuda

Air China

ANA

Japan Airlines

Asiana

Korean Airlines

EVA Air

Air India

Jet Airways

 

Kingfisher (currently suspended)

LATIN AMERICA

American Airlines (has many partners in Latin America and Caribbean)

Avianca Taca

LAN

TAM

GOL

 

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

Emirates

Qatar

Etihad

Gulf Air

Kuwait Airways

EgyptAir

South African Airways

El Al

 

Please feel free to add any other good airline credit cards you know of in these geographical locations or ask any questions in the comments.

If you live in the USA, please see Airlines, Hotels and Flexible Points

If you live in Australia, please see Part 1 and Part 2

If you live in the UK or Europe I have basic guidelines