There are almost 90 kingfishers Worldwide. They exhibit all sorts of feeding behaviours but the Kingfisher is a small species that does the right thing - it plunges from a perch or hovering flight into water and catches small fish. This species is found in Europe where, for the most part it is the only species, and over much of the Southern half of Asia.
To say that the Kingfisher has a blue back is an understatement - it is more like electric blue. As a Kingfisher flies by, often emitting a plaintiff whistling flight call, this is what you will see. When perched, the brilliant shiny blue back is concealed and you can see the orange breast and delicate blues and greens on the upper parts. The big head and dagger bill will also impress. These birds breed in burrows in vertical banks often, but not always, above water. They may have three broods in a summer as they are very vulnerable to cold weather and thus have a high reproductive rate. Many move from the colder parts of their range and recoveries of ringed birds of over 2,000 kms are not unusual. British birds have been reported drowned in jam jars where children were collecting tiddlers! In Britain and Ireland the population probably exceeds 5,000 pairs.
In a flash you will see its blue flash as it flashes by.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Kingfisher (Watercolour by Robert Gillmor)
Length 165 mm Closed wing 78 mm Weight 40 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead