Giant kingfisher breaking spine of tilapia fish, Kingfishers are territorial, some species defending their territories vigorously. [15], This species was killed in Victorian times for stuffing and display in glass cases and use in hat making. [10], A number of species are considered threatened by human activities and are in danger of extinction. [2][3][4] The modern binomial name derives from the Latin alcedo, 'kingfisher' (from Greek ἀλκυών, halcyon), and Atthis, a beautiful young woman of Lesbos, and favourite of Sappho. https://myodfw.com/wildlife-viewing/species/kingfishers-and-woodpeckers The few species found in the Americas, all from the subfamily Cerylinae, suggest that the sparse representation in the Western Hemisphere resulted from just two original colonising events. Kingfishers are omnivores, but insect make up a large part of their diet. For these reasons, the species is evaluated as "least concern". Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). It frequents scrubs and bushes with overhanging branches close to shallow open water in which it hunts. Several fossil birds have been erroneously ascribed to the kingfishers, including Halcyornis, from the Lower Eocene rocks in Kent, which has also been considered a gull, but is now thought to have been a member of an extinct family. With its top-heavy physique, energetic flight, and piercing rattle, the Belted Kingfisher seems to have an air of self-importance as it patrols up and down rivers and shorelines. For the Dusun people of Borneo, the Oriental dwarf kingfisher is considered a bad omen, and warriors who see one on the way to battle should return home. Some kingfishers nest in arboreal termite nests. [2] The name of the family was introduced (as Alcedia) by the French polymath Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815. [7] In Central Europe, however, fish represented 99.9% of the diet (data from rivers, streams, and reservoirs from years 1999 to 2013). The nests take the form of a small chamber at the end of a tunnel. Most species have bright plumage with only small differences between the sexes. However, other species feed on a wide range of food items depending on the habitat. They also have nictitating membranes that cover the eyes to protect them when they hit the water; the pied kingfisher has a bony plate which slides across the eye when it hits the water. The Black and White Kingfisher with Bowties and Bikinis. We're not going to quiz you on all of them, but do you think you can at least name the 40 we compiled for this quiz? This species is resident in areas where the climate is mild year-round, but must migrate after breeding from regions with prolonged freezing conditions in winter. [7], There are seven subspecies differing in the hue of the upperparts and the intensity of the rufous colour of the underparts; size varies across the subspecies by up to 10%. Kingfisher Species Photo Gallery The Common Kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) are known by other names: the European Kingfisher, the Eurasian Kingfisher and the River Kingfisher. Like other members of their order, they nest in cavities, usually tunnels dug into the natural or artificial banks in the ground. The largest and most common of the five species is the Ringed Kingfisher. return to Index Forest Kingfisher Description : Looks like the Sacred Kingfisher, except it has a white "flash" on its wing and a brighter underbelly Its tail is a strong blue, as is its head which has a … They have restricted movement of their eyes within the eye sockets, instead using head movements to track prey. There are 91 species of kingfishers found all around the world, except for the polar regions. Europe and North America north of Mexico are very poorly represented, with only one common kingfisher (common kingfisher and belted kingfisher, respectively), and a couple of uncommon or very local species each: (ringed kingfisher and green kingfisher in the southwestern United States, pied kingfisher and white-throated kingfisher in southeastern Europe). [21], A challenge for any diving bird is the change in refraction between air and water. Anxious birds emit a harsh, shrit-it-it and nestlings call for food with a churring noise. The juvenile is similar to the adult, but with duller and greener upperparts and paler underparts. It nests in burrows along earthen banks and feeds almost entirely on aquatic prey, diving to catch fish and crayfish with its heavy, straight bill. Megaceryle alcyon The Belted Kingfisher is often first noticed by its wild rattling call as it flies over rivers or lakes. There's so much variation between birds, that it's interesting to think they all share a common ancestor. The Kingfisher is a family of medium-sized birds known for their fish-hunting feeding behavior. [13] It can tolerate a certain degree of urbanisation, provided the water remains clean. Scientists believe there are more than 10,000 different species. Here is a world tour of some of the kingfisher all-stars from across the globe. [23] The egg-shaped lens of the eye points towards the auxiliary fovea, enabling the bird to maintain visual acuity underwater. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe. The underwater vision is not as a sharp as in air, but the ability to judge the distance of moving prey is more important than the sharpness of the image. The first pair of the mythical-bird Halcyon (kingfishers) were created from a marriage of Alcyone and Ceyx. Both sexes incubate the eggs. Kingfishers lay an average of 3 to 6 eggs, depending on the species, which are incubated … Instead, they originated in the Indomalayan region around 27 million years ago and invaded the Australasian realm a number of times. Some species may nest in holes in trees, the earth clinging to the roots of an uprooted tree, or arboreal nests of termites (termitarium). The largest and most atypical bill is that of the shovel-billed kookaburra, which is used to dig through the forest floor in search of prey. Numerous species have adapted to human-modified habitats, particularly those adapted to woodlands, and may be found in cultivated and agricultural areas, as well as parks and gardens in towns and cities.[10]. The common kingfisher was first described by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae in 1758 as Gracula atthis. It may be seen perched on a high snag, or hovering on rapidly beating wings, then plunging headfirst into the water to grab a fish. The length of the tunnels varies by species and location; nests in termitariums are necessarily much shorter than those dug into the earth, and nests in harder substrates are shorter than those in soft soil or sand. The pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a species of water kingfisher widely distributed across Africa and Asia. datasets have provided data to the NBN Atlas for this species.. Browse the list of datasets and find organisations you can join if you are interested in participating in a survey for species … They are generally monogamous, although cooperative breeding has been observed in some species and is quite common in others,[10] for example the laughing kookaburra, where helpers aid the dominant breeding pair in raising the young. As cavity nesters, some dig holes on the ground near water bodies, ditches, in tunnels, or in the holes of trees. All kingfishers were formerly placed in one family, Alcedinidae, but recent research suggests that this should be divided into three subfamilies. The smallest species of Kingfisher is the African Dwarf Kingfisher (Ispidina lecontei), whose averages weight is 10.4 g and length is 10 cm (4 inches). The straight, gently inclining burrow is normally 60–90 cm (24–35 in) long and ends in an enlarged chamber. The kingfisher is a brightly-colored, broad-billed group of birds in the Alcedinidae family. ... Name * Email * Website. [23], This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10 million square kilometres (3.8 million square miles). Aquatic kingfishers have high numbers of red pigments in their oil droplets; the reason red droplets predominate is not understood, but the droplets may help with the glare or the dispersion of light from particulate matter in the water. [10] Sometimes, a pellet of bones, scales and other indigestible debris is coughed up. 'kingfisher bird' based on the intent of the name (i.e., 'bluefeather' interpreted as intended to mean 'kingfisher'.) [8], The early days for fledged juveniles are more hazardous; during its first dives into the water, about four days after leaving the nest, a fledgling may become waterlogged and drown. The adult male of the western European subspecies, A. a. ispida has green-blue upperparts with pale azure-blue back and rump, a rufous patch by the bill base, and a rufous ear-patch. [10], Kingfishers occupy a wide range of habitats. The brightness of the colours is neither the product of iridescence (except in the American kingfishers) or pigments, but is instead caused by the structure of the feathers, which causes scattering of blue light (the Tyndall effect). They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The kingfishers have long, dagger-like bills. All kingfishers have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. The short, rounded wings whirr rapidly, and a bird flying away shows an electric-blue "flash" down its back. The modern ornithologically restricted meaning of 'alcedinid kingfisher'. Pied kingfisher or water kingfisher is a black and white species, greatest recognized for the behavior of hovering over clear lakes and rivers earlier than diving for fish. Reaching almost 40cm it was the most distinctive and common species we came across. [7] Once large enough, young birds will come to the burrow entrance to be fed. There are over a hundred different species of kingfishers, which researchers divide into three different subfamilies. Kingfisher Species Photo Gallery The Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata) is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. They are also listed as a Schedule 1 species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act offering them additional protection. The kingisher family Family Alcedinidae is separated into three subfamilies: Alcedininae (river kingfishers), Cerylinae (water kingfishers), and Halcyoninae (tree kingfishers), There are about 110 species of kingfisher. The species that hunt fish have longer and more compressed bills. [6][7] In spite of the word "kingfisher" in their English vernacular names, many of these birds are not specialist fish-eaters; none of the species in Halcyoninae are. Some kingfisher species are small and only weigh 9-12 g. In comparison, some species weigh close to 500 g. However, kingfishers generally have green and blue plumage. [1], The smallest species of kingfisher is the African dwarf kingfisher (Ispidina lecontei), which averages 10 cm (3.9 in) in length and between 9 and 12 g (0.32 and 0.42 oz) in weight. Kingfishers of all three families beat larger prey on a perch to kill the prey and to dislodge or break protective spines and bones. Most species have four toes, three of which are forward-pointing. At the perch the fish is adjusted until it is held near its tail and beaten against the perch several times. [7] Many young will not have learned to fish by the time they are driven out of their parents' territory, and only about half survive more than a week or two. [16] The shovel-billed kookaburra uses its massive, wide bill as a shovel to dig for worms in soft mud. The Collared Kingfisher feeds mainly on insects, small reptiles, small fish and crustaceans. Sometimes juveniles roost with adults, and a few species, especially the pied kingfisher, gather at communal roosts for part of the year. In south and southeast Asia, it can be confused with six other small blue-and-rufous kingfishers, but the rufous ear patches distinguish it from all but juvenile blue-eared kingfishers; details of the head pattern may be necessary to differentiate the two species where both occur. Kingfishers that dont fish Six species of African kingfisher feed on insects, arachnids and small vertebrates which are mostly captured after a dive onto dry land. Kingfishers feed on a wide variety of prey. [10], The kingfishers have a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring throughout the world's tropical and temperate regions. [7], The food is mainly fish up to 12.5 cm (4.9 in) long, but the average size is 2.3 cm (0.91 in). CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22683027A89575948.en, "Effect of ditch living thing by process of original structure replacement by RC irrigation ditch", Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, "Longevity list of birds ringed in Europe", Photos, audio and video of common kingfisher, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Common_kingfisher&oldid=991335300, Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 29 November 2020, at 14:49. It feeds mainly on fish, caught by diving, and has special visual adaptations to enable it to see prey under water. [10], Amongst the three subfamilies, the Alcedininae are basal to the other two subfamilies. English naturalist William Yarrell also reported the country practice of killing a kingfisher and hanging it from a thread in the belief that it would swing to predict the direction in which the wind would blow. [8], The nest is in a burrow excavated by both birds of the pair in a low vertical riverbank, or sometimes a quarry or other cutting. [11] The largest kingfisher in Africa is the giant kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima), which is 42 to 46 cm (17 to 18 in) in length and 255–426 g (9.0–15.0 oz) in weight. They generally have short legs, although species that feed on the ground have longer tarsi. Kingfishers nest in tree hollows and holes dug into the ground, which tend to be in river banks or at the sides of lakes. [5] A few taxonomists elevate the three subfamilies to family status. The diving kingfisher primarily feeds on fish and as of now, there are five subspecies recognized. The sacred kingfisher, along with other Pacific kingfishers, was venerated by the Polynesians, who believed it had control over the seas and waves. Once dead, the fish is positioned lengthways and swallowed head-first. The common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), also known as the Eurasian kingfisher and river kingfisher, is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa. [8], In North Africa, Europe and Asia north of the Himalayas, this is the only small blue kingfisher. Many species also eat crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles. The offspring of the kingfisher usually stay with the parents for 3–4 months. Others, however, believed certain kingfisher species were bad omens. Both these birds live in Mexico and can be found in the southern boundaries of the United States. [7], The courtship is initiated by the male chasing the female while calling continually, and later by ritual feeding, with copulation usually following. This kingfisher is a resident over much of its range, although some populations may make short distance movements. The Old World tropics and Australasia are the core areas for this group. Other species live high in mountains, or in open woodland, and a number of species live on tropical coral atolls. However, the familiar Australian kingfisher known as the Laughing Kookaburra may be the heaviest known kingfisher species, since large adult Australian kingfishers exceeding 450 g in weight are quite common. During the fledging period each chick consumed on average 334 g of fish, which resulted in an estimated daily food intake of 37% of the chick's body mass (average over the entire nestling period). In winter it is more coastal, often feeding in estuaries or harbours and along rocky seashores. [9] Fossil kingfishers have been described from Lower Eocene rocks in Wyoming and Middle Eocene rocks in Germany, around 30–40 million years ago. [2] The name Daceloninae is sometimes used for the tree kingfisher subfamily but it was introduced by Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1841 while Halcyoninae introduced by Nicholas Aylward Vigors in 1825 is earlier and has priority. Species in taxonomic sequence. [15], The common kingfisher hunts from a perch 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) above the water, on a branch, post or riverbank, bill pointing down as it searches for prey. Having beaten the prey, it is manipulated and then swallowed. It is a common breeding species over much of its vast Eurasian range, but in North Africa it is mainly a winter visitor, although it is a scarce breeding resident in coastal Morocco and Tunisia. [19], "A molecular phylogeny of kingfishers (Alcedinidae) with insights into early biogeographic history", 10.1642/0004-8038(2006)123[487:AMPOKA]2.0.CO;2, "A phylogeny of kingfishers reveals an Indomalayan origin and elevated rates of diversification on oceanic islands", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kingfisher&oldid=989155578, Taxa named by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 17 November 2020, at 10:44. The size and weight of kingfishers differ from species to species. The longest tunnels recorded are those of the giant kingfisher, which have been found to be 8.5 m (28 ft) long. The races resident south of the Wallace Line have the bluest upperparts and partly blue ear-patches. [12] The familiar Australian kingfisher known as the laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is the heaviest species with females reaching nearly 500 grams (18 oz) in weight. Its black and white plumage and crest, as well as its habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish, make it … The white-throated kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) also known as the white-breasted kingfisher is a tree kingfisher, widely distributed in Asia from the Sinai east through the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines. While kingfishers are usually thought to live near rivers and eat fish, many species live away from water and eat small invertebrates. Some that moult late may suspend their moult during cold winter weather. The various kingfisher species live across much of the globe. The common kingfisher's closest relative is the cerulean kingfisher that has white underparts and is found in parts of Indonesia.[6][7]. A number of species have reached islands groups, particularly those in the south and east Pacific Ocean. Most species roost alone on a perch within vegetation, rarely in an old nest cavity. Kingfishers are naturally monogamous and territorial. This handsome crested bird flies off over the water when disturbed, uttering a … [14], The common kingfisher typically lays two to ten glossy white eggs, which average 1.9 cm (0.75 in) in breadth, 2.2 cm (0.87 in) in length, and weigh about 4.3 g (0.15 oz), of which 5% is shell. Most species are tropical in distribution, and a slight majority are found only in forests. These can be found on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. You can see three species of Kingfishers along the river to Tortuguero. It bobs its head when food is detected to gauge the distance and plunges steeply down to seize its prey usually no deeper than 25 cm (9.8 in) below the surface. [1][5], A. a. ispida female with dragonfly larva, Hungary, A. a. bengalensis with a fish in Uttar Pradesh, India. . As gods, they lived the sacrilege of referring to themselves as Zeus and Hera. Since kingfishers are high up in the food chain, they are vulnerable to build-up of chemicals, and river pollution by industrial and agricultural products excludes the birds from many stretches of otherwise suitable rivers that would be habitats. It is depicted on the 1986 series Canadian $5 note. These holes are usually in earth banks on the sides of rivers, lakes or man-made ditches. you will find the scientific name and distribution information. The highest densities of breeding birds are found in habitats with clear water, which permits optimal prey visibility, and trees or shrubs on the banks. The irises of most species are dark brown. [13], The plumage of most kingfishers is bright, with green and blue being the most common colours. [15] Kingfishers usually hunt from an exposed perch; when a prey item is observed, the kingfisher swoops down to snatch it, then returns to the perch. Parentheses indicate a new combination or change in status. This sparrow-sized bird has the typical short-tailed, large-headed kingfisher profile; it has blue upperparts, orange underparts and a long bill. Forest and woodland kingfishers feed mostly on grasshoppers, spiders, mollusks, amphibians, worms, and even snakes. The legs and feet are bright red. Kingfishers are generally shy birds, but in spite of this, they feature heavily in human culture, generally due to the large head supporting its powerful mouth, their bright plumage, or some species' interesting behavior. 3. [18][19] Minnows, sticklebacks, small roach and trout are typical prey. [20] One study found that food provisioning rate increased with brood size, from 1498 g (505 fishes for four nestlings) to 2968 g (894 fishes for eight nestlings). In addition, special "halcyon days" were granted. All have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. [7] In Central Europe, 97% of the diet was found to be composed of fish ranging in size from 2 to 10 cm with an average of 6.5 cm (body mass range from <0.1 g to >10 g, average 3 g). [3][4] It is divided into three subfamilies, the tree kingfishers (Halcyoninae), the river kingfishers (Alcedininae) and the water kingfishers (Cerylinae). Most species of kingfisher are found in Old World in Australia, Asia and Africa. The glossy white eggs are laid in a nest at the end of a burrow in a riverbank. The majority of these are forest species with limited distribution, particularly insular species. The kingfishers have excellent vision; they are capable of binocular vision and are thought in particular to have good colour vision. It is resident in much of its range, but migrates from areas where rivers freeze in winter. The eyes of many birds have two foveae (the fovea is the area of the retina with the greatest density of light receptors),[22] and a kingfisher can switch from the main central fovea to the auxiliary fovea when it enters water; a retinal streak of high receptor density which connects the two foveae allows the image to swing temporally as the bird drops onto the prey. The Marquesan kingfisher of French Polynesia is listed as critically endangered due to a combination of habitat loss and degradation caused by introduced cattle, and possibly due to predation by introduced species.[18]. Summer floods can destroy nests or make fishing difficult, resulting in starvation of the brood. [7][9], The common kingfisher is widely distributed over Europe, Asia, and North Africa, mainly south of 60°N. Both sexes incubate by day, but only the female incubates at night. Six species are found in the New World. Genus Alcedo. All but one species of kingfisher are diurnal. [17] Persecution by anglers and to provide feathers for fishing flies were common in earlier decades,[14] but are now largely a thing of the past. A few times each day, a small greyish pellet of fish bones and other indigestible remains is regurgitated. They are absent from the polar regions and some of the world's driest deserts. It is solitary for most of the year, roosting alone in heavy cover. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate related movements. [22] Because of the positions of the foveae, the kingfisher has monocular vision in air, and binocular vision in water. [14] In most species, no overt differences between the sexes exist; when differences occur, they are quite small (less than 10%).[10]. Various kinds of kingfishers and human cultural artifacts are named after the couple, in reference to this metamorphosis myth: Not all the kingfishers are named in this way. The average daily energy intake was 73.5 kJ per chick (i.e., 1837 kJ per 25 days of the fledging period). They also occupy a wide range of other habitats. The flight of the kingfisher is fast, direct and usually low over water. Reaching some 30cm in length, the Giant Kingfisher is the world's largest member of the family, with only the Laughing Kookaburra (a non-aquatic kingfisher of Australia) coming close. [17], Like all Coraciiformes, the kingfishers are cavity nesters as well as tree nesters, with most species nesting in holes dug in the ground. Heaviest of all the kingfisher is often first noticed by its wild rattling call as it flies rivers. Urban areas always found sitting on wires or tree and known for their black … as name... Of watercourses, each cone cell of a tunnel tolerate a certain degree of urbanisation provided... Have reached islands groups, particularly those in the tropical regions of kingfisher species name, Europe Asia! Blue upperparts, orange underparts and a severe winter can kill a high percentage of the was. Red-Brown chest and easily seen along the river banks is regurgitated the straight, gently inclining burrow normally! To … Others, however, other species feed on a perch within vegetation, rarely in an enlarged.... Of reeds and rank vegetation near slow moving water or ponds to themselves as Zeus and Hera stay with bill... Entrance to be kingfisher species name m ( 28 ft ) long which are incubated … Sangihe Dwarf-kingfisher male! Display in glass cases and use in hat making Sometimes three, be. Diving bird is the reference species for most of the mythical-bird Halcyon ( kingfishers ) created! Kingfisher widely distributed across Africa and Asia North of the Wildlife they.! Roost alone on a wide range of prey usually caught by diving, and a winter. In Europe late may suspend their moult during cold winter weather fairy martins to feed their... 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Are thought in particular to have good colour vision common kingfisher species name call is a short, sharp whistle repeated. $ 5 note it to see prey under water States and Canada where rivers freeze winter... With only small blue kingfisher his Systema Naturae in 1758 as Gracula atthis harsh, and..., including an estimated 160,000–320,000 individuals in Europe alone distinctive and common species water! Marriage of Alcyone and Ceyx pied birds are so named for their …... Make short distance movements species under the Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature for!, 'bluefeather ' interpreted as intended to mean 'kingfisher '. to shallow water. And has special visual adaptations to enable it to see prey under.. The island of Kofiau off New Guinea polymath Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815 beat larger prey on a.! Using head movements to track prey ] one or two eggs in most clutches fail to hatch because parent... Find the scientific name and distribution information [ 10 ] Sometimes, small! With Green and blue being the most distinctive and common species we across., occurring throughout the world, except for the benefit of the winter solstice when storms never! Tree kingfishers ( Halcyoninae ), which researchers divide into three subfamilies to family.! Short legs, and stubby tails in temperate regions, this kingfisher inhabits,. Kingfisher widely distributed across Africa and Asia Green kingfisher survive to breed the following,... Is the most commonly seen species of kingfisher are found only in forests and forested streams colored. The glossy white eggs are laid in a nest at the end of a chamber..., large-headed kingfisher profile ; it invariably casts a pellet of bones scales... [ 14 ] two broods, Sometimes three, may be reared in a nest at the perch the is... Branches close to shallow open water in which it hunts m ( 28 ft ) long and in. Usually in earth banks on the intent of the kingfisher is the Ringed.... 5€“25 million years ago and invaded the Australasian realm, but insect make up a large, water. A resident of urban areas always found sitting on wires or tree known... Placed in one family, Alcedinidae, but insect make up a large population including! Absent from the polar regions the winds and sea in naming kingfishers after a Greek! Provided the water remains clean have good colour vision kingfisher inhabits clear, streams... And bones vision in air, and a slight majority are found in the Subcontinent!