This little bird had probably ventured out from here and somehow got separated from its siblings and parent birds. Maybe naughty children had tried to catch it or perhaps it had been caught by a bird of prey. Rashed decided to look after it for a week or so, feeding it with chopped up prawns, small fish and worms. Then he would release it to the wild.

This little bird which had just learnt to fly was a 'pied kingfisher'. Its scientific name is Ceryle rudis. This is one of the most beautiful kingfishers of Bangladesh and is about 31cm in length. It weighs 68 to 110 gms. It is black and white and move around in pairs. Its habitat is marshes, river banks, ponds and other wetlands. It eats fish mainly, but also feeds on worms, tadpoles and insects. These birds often hover mid-air, flapping their wings rapidly, creating an enchanting reflection on the water below.

These sharp-eyed birds often live in the tunnels they make on the banks of ponds, rivers or lakes. These tunnel are around two feet deep and they add little chambers to lay their eggs. They lay five to seven eggs which hatch in around 19 to 22 days. It is a delightful sight to behold the mother, father and baby pied kingfishers huddled together. The 'chirruk-chirruk' call of the bird is sweet and it has an attractive black and white plumage. It is fun to watch its diving towards the water to catch its prey.

That little bird cared for by Rashed must be an adult now, perhaps living on the banks of Bishkaram Dighi.

* Sharif Khan is writer on birds and wildlife. This report, originally published in the print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir

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