The common kingfisher, scientific name Alcedo atthis, also called the Eurasian kingfisher and river kingfisher is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies acknowledged inside its extensive distribution throughout Eurasia and North Africa.
About Common kingfisher
It’s resident in a lot of its vary, however, migrates from areas the place rivers freeze in winter. In this article, I am going to discuss common kingfisher facts, call, habitat, scientific name, bird, UK, Singapore, India, diet, range, etc.
The common kingfisher is amongst essentially the most colorful birds and has lovely sensible plumage, although, regardless of its extraordinary colors, generally it’s tough to see when it’s in dappled shade, and its colors are additionally not very apparent in flight.
Moreover, its shy nature implies that it isn’t typically seen. Its upper parts are brilliant blue and its underparts a wealthy chestnut-red.
Female and male are typically related however the females have a bill with a crimson base, whereas males have one that’s fully black. Juveniles are related in look however have duller, greener plumage.
This sparrow-sized bird has the everyday short-tailed, large-headed kingfisher profile; it has blue upperparts, orange underparts, and an extended bill.
It feeds primarily on fish, caught by diving, and has particularly visible diversifications to allow it to see prey beneath the water. The shiny white eggs are laid in a nest on the finish of a burrow in a riverbank.
Common kingfisher Distribution
The common kingfisher happens all through Europe and in Asia as far to the east as Japan, and south of the Sahara in Africa.
Common kingfishers reside year within the south, whereas northern populations fly south in winter away from the freezing water. They’re present in wetlands and on the shores streams, ponds, and lakes.
They’ve been recognized to hunt prey from brackish waters, particularly in winter when our bodies of water are typically frozen.
The frequent kingfisher is broadly distributed over Europe, Asia, and North Africa, primarily south of 60°N.
It’s a frequent breeding species over a lot of its huge Eurasian vary, however, in North Africa, it’s primarily a winter customer, though it’s a scarce breeding resident in coastal Morocco and Tunisia.
In temperate areas, this kingfisher inhabits clear, slow-flowing streams and rivers, and lakes with well-vegetated banks.
It frequents scrubs and bushes with overhanging branches near shallow open water through which it hunts.
In winter it’s extra coastal, typically feeding in estuaries or harbors and alongside rocky seashores. Tropical populations are discovered by slow-flowing rivers, in mangrove creeks, and in swamps.
Common kingfishers are essential members of ecosystems and good indicators of freshwater group well-being.
The best densities of breeding birds are present in habitats with clear water, which allows optimum prey visibility, and bushes or shrubs on the banks.
These habitats have additionally the very best high quality of water, so the presence of this chook confirms the usual of the water.
Measures to enhance the water stream can disrupt this habitat, and particularly, the substitute of pure banks by synthetic confinement tremendously reduces the populations of fish, amphibians, and aquatic reptiles, and waterside birds are misplaced.
It may possibly tolerate a sure diploma of urbanization, offered the water stays clear.
This species is resident in areas the place the local weather is gentle year-round, however should migrate after breeding from areas with extended freezing circumstances in winter.
Most birds winter throughout the southern components of the breeding vary, however, smaller numbers cross the Mediterranean into Africa or journey over the mountains of Malaysia into Southeast Asia.
Kingfishers migrate primarily in the evening, and a few Siberian breeders should journey at the least 3,000 km (1,900 mi) between the breeding websites and the wintering areas.
Common kingfisher Description
This species has the everyday short-tailed, dumpy-bodied, large-headed, and long-billed kingfisher form.
The grownup male of the western European subspecies, A. a. ispida has green-blue upperparts with pale azure-blue again and rump, a rufous patch by the bill base, and a rufous ear-patch.
It has a green-blue neck stripe, white neck blaze and throat, rufous underparts, and a black bill with some crimson on the base.
The legs and ft are brilliant red. It’s about 16 centimeters (6.3 in) long with a wingspan of 25 cm (9.eight in) and weighs 34–46 grams (1.2–1.6 oz).
The feminine is identical in look to the male besides that her decrease mandible is orange-red with a black tip.
The juvenile is just like the grownup, however with duller and greener upperparts and paler underparts.
Its bill is black, and the legs are additionally initially black. Feathers are molted step by step between July and November with the principal flight feathers taking 90–100 days to molt and regrow. Some that molt late might droop their molt throughout the chilly winter climate.
The flight of the kingfisher is quick, direct, and normally low over the water. The brief, rounded wings whirr quickly, and a chook flying away exhibits an electric-blue “flash” down it again.
In North Africa, Europe, and Asia north of the Himalayas, that is the one small blue kingfisher. In the south and southeast Asia, it may be confused with six different small blue-and-rufous kingfishers, however, the rufous ear patches distinguish it from all however juvenile blue-eared kingfishers; particulars of the pinnacle sample could also be essential to differentiate the 2 species the place each happens.
The frequent kingfisher has no track. The flight name is a brief, sharp whistle chee repeated two or thrice. Anxious birds emit a harsh, shrit-it-it, and nestlings name for meals with a churring noise.
Common kingfisher Diet
The common kingfisher is a carnivore (piscivore) and primarily eats fish and small crustaceans, similar to prawns and crabs. It additionally catches bugs in flight.
Habits and Way of life
As with all kingfishers, the common kingfisher could be very territorial, primarily as a result of every day is has to eat about 60% of its physique weight.
They even defend their territory towards their mates and offspring. People are solitary for a lot of the 12 months, roosting in heavy cowl beside their favorite looking spot.
When one other kingfisher comes into its territory, the birds will each sit on a perch at a long way from each other and carry out territorial shows, normally the show of beaks and plumage.
Fights sometimes happen, one chook grabbing the opposite one’s beak and making an attempt to carry their opponent beneath the water.
Their flight could be very quick, inflicting their wings to look like a blue haze. These birds talk vocally and are well-known for an extended, trilling name like a repetition of the sound “chee”.
Throughout mating, the male whistles loudly to a feminine and can chase her via and above the bushes.
When diving for prey, their eyes are coated by a membrane they usually depend on contact alone to know when they need to snap their jaws shut.
Common kingfisher Mating
Their birds are serially monogamous and search a brand new mate yearly. They nest on their very own. The feminine is given meals by the male earlier than copulation, normally a fish.
2-3 clutches of eggs are laid yearly, in April, and one other by July, with generally, a 3rd in early October. Nests are on sandy banks alongside streams.
Typically they use a gap in a wall or a rotten tree stump, or a termite mound, the place they dig a tunnel, and on the finish create a nest chamber.
Each female and male work to excavate 50 to 90 cm lengthy burrow, taking turns. 6 to 7 white eggs are laid and incubation lasts around 19 to 21 days, achieved by each dad and mom.
Often, the feminine does the brooding in the evening and each female and male do it in the course of the day.
Younger are given meals by each their dad and mom they usually fledge at about 23-24 days, generally more.
4 days later they make their first dive. Very quickly they turn out to be unbiased and depart the territory the place they have been born.
Common kingfisher Breeding
Like all kingfishers, the frequent kingfisher is extremely territorial; because it should eat around 60% of its physique weight every day, it’s important to have management of an appropriate stretch of river.
It’s solitary for a lot of the 12 months, roosting alone in the heavy cowl.
If one other kingfisher enters its territory, each bird show from perches, and fights might happen, through which a chook will seize the opposite’s beak and attempt to maintain it underwater.
Pairs kind within the autumn however every chook retains a separate territory, typically at the least 1 km (0.62 mi) lengthy, however, as much as 3.5 km (2.2 mi) and territories usually are not merged till the spring.
The courtship is initiated by the male chasing the feminine whereas calling frequently, and later by ritual feeding, with copulation normally following.
The nest is in a burrow excavated by each bird of the pair in a low vertical riverbank, or generally a quarry or different chopping.
The straight, gently inclining burrow is often 60–90 cm (24–35 in) lengthy and ends in an enlarged chamber.
The nest cavity is unlined however quickly accumulates a litter of fish stays and solid pellets.
The frequent kingfisher sometimes lays two to 10 shiny white eggs, which commonly 1.9 cm (0.75 in) in breadth, 2.2 cm (0.87 in) in size, and weigh about 4.Three g (0.15 oz), of which 5% is a shell.
One or two eggs in most clutches fail to hatch as a result of the mother or father can’t cowl them. Each sex incubate by day, however solely the feminine incubates in the evening.
An incubating chook sits trance-like, dealing with the tunnel; it invariably casts a pellet, breaking it up with the bill.
The eggs hatch in 19–20 days and the altricial younger are within the nest for an extra 24–25 days, typically extra.
As soon as giant sufficient, younger birds will come to the burrow entrance to be fed. Two broods, generally three, could also be reared in a season.
Common kingfisher adaptations
The early days for fledged juveniles are extra hazardous; throughout its first dives into the water, about 4 days after leaving the nest, a fledgling might turn out to be waterlogged and drown.
Much younger won’t have discovered to fish by the point they’re pushed out of their dad and mom’ territory, and solely about half survive greater than per week or two.
Most kingfishers die of chilly or lack of meals, and an extreme winter can kill an excessive proportion of the birds.
Summertime floods can destroy nests or make fishing tough, leading to the hunger of the brood.
Solely 1 / 4 of the younger survive to breed the next 12 months, however, this is sufficient to preserve the inhabitants.
Likewise, solely 1 / 4 of grownup birds survive from one breeding season to the subsequent. Only a few birds reside longer than one breeding season. The oldest chook on file was 21 years.
Different causes of loss of life are cats, rats, collisions with automobiles and home windows, and human disturbance of nesting birds, together with riverbank works with heavy equipment.
Since kingfishers are excessive up within the meals chain, they’re weak to a build-up of chemical compounds, and river air pollution by industrial and agricultural merchandise excludes the birds from many stretches of in any other case appropriate rivers that may be habitats.
This species was killed in Victorian occasions for stuffing and show in glass circumstances and use in hat making.
English naturalist William Yarrell additionally reported the nation to observe of killing a kingfisher and hanging it from a thread within the perception that it will swing to foretell the route through which the wind would blow.
Persecution by anglers and to offer feathers for fishing flies have been frequent in earlier many years, however are actually largely a factor of the previous.
Common kingfisher Feeding
The frequent kingfisher hunts from a perch 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) above the water, on a department, put up or riverbank, bill pointing down because it searches for prey.
It bobs its head when meals are detected to gauge the space and plunges steeply all the way down to seize its prey normally no deeper than 25 cm (9.eight in) beneath the floor.
The wings are opened underwater and the open eyes are protected by the clear third eyelid.
The chook rises beak-first from the floor and flies again to its perch. On the perch, the fish is adjusted till it’s held close to its tail and crushed towards the perch a number of occasions.
As soon as lifeless, the fish is positioned lengthways and swallowed head-first.
A number of occasions every day, a small greyish pellet of fish bones and different indigestible stays are regurgitated.
The meals are especially fish as much as 12.5 cm (4.9 in) lengthy, however, the common dimension is 2.Three cm (0.91 in).
In Central Europe, 97% of the weight loss plan was discovered to be composed of fish ranging in dimension from 2 to 10 cm with a median of 6.5 cm (body mass vary from <0.1 g to >10 g, common Three g). Minnows, sticklebacks, small roach, and trout are typical prey.
About 60% of meal gadgets are fish, however, this kingfisher additionally catches aquatic bugs similar to dragonfly larvae and water beetles, and, in winter, crustaceans together with freshwater shrimps.
In Central Europe, nonetheless, fish represented 99.9% of the weight loss plan (knowledge from rivers, streams, and reservoirs from the years 1999 to 2013). common kingfishers have additionally been noticed to catch lamprey.
One research discovered that meals provisioning fee elevated with brood dimension, from 1498 g (505 fishes for 4 nestlings) to 2968 g (894 fishes for eight nestlings).
In the course of the fledging interval, every chick consumed on common 334 g of fish, which resulted in an estimated day-by-day meal consumption of 37% of the chick’s physique mass (common over the complete nestling interval).
The common day-by-day vitality consumption was 73.5 kJ per chick (i.e., 1837 kJ per 25 days of the fledging interval).
A problem with any diving chook is the change in refraction between air and water.
The eyes of many birds have two foveae (the fovea is the realm of the retina with the best density of sunshine receptors), and a kingfisher can change from the principle central fovea to the auxiliary fovea when it enters water; a retinal streak of excessive receptor density which connects the 2 foveae permits the picture to swing temporally because the chook drops onto the prey.
The egg-shaped lens of the attention factors in direction of the auxiliary fovea, enabling the chook to take care of visible acuity underwater.
Due to the positions of the foveae, the kingfisher has monocular imaginative and prescient in air, and binocular imaginative and prescient in water.
The underwater imaginative and prescient just isn’t as pointy as in air, however, the skill to gauge the space of transferring prey is extra essential than the sharpness of the picture.
The common kingfisher in most components of its vary, is certainly frequent, however, it’s beneath menace from river air pollution, disturbances, and human developments.
It’s also weak to bouts of extreme winter climate, as it’s unable to feed when our bodies of water freeze over.
In accordance with IUCN’s Purple Record, the worldwide inhabitants of the common kingfisher are round 700,000-1,399,999 mature people. Estimates for national populations embody:
in China, about 10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and 50-10,000 people on migration; in Taiwan, 10,000-100,000 breeding pairs; in Korea, 100-10,000 breeding pairs, with 50-1,000 people on migration; in Japan, 10,000-100,000 breeding pairs with 50-1,000 people on migration, and in Russia, 100-100,000 breeding pairs with 50-10,000 people on migration.
The European inhabitants are estimated at 97,500-167,000 pairs, which equates to 195,000-334,000 mature people. Total, presently common kingfishers are labeled as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Purple Record.
Common kingfisher Ecological area of interest
Common kingfishers function as a great indicator of the well-being of an ecosystem.
As they feed on small aquatic animals, toxins within the water have an effect on them severely. Powerful kingfisher inhabitants subsequently normally mean a wholesome habitat.
Common kingfishers are additionally essential predators all through their variety of small fish from freshwater habitats, thus controlling their populations
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Common kingfisher facts
- A common kingfisher has superior eyesight, polarizing gentle being certainly one of its talents, lowering gentle’s reflection off the water.
- The blue and inexperienced colors that common kingfishers are well-known for is iridescence, not pigment, so in numerous gentle and from completely different angles they’ll seem to have a distinct color.
- Kingfishers in Greek mythology have been seen because of the Halcyon bird, having the energy to manage the waves and wind.
- There are 87 species of kingfishers, however, the common kingfisher is the one that breeds in Europe.
- When diving for a meal, the common kingfisher typically fully submerges within the water, with its wings folded back to kind a V form. It’s even in a position to dive straight via skinny ice after a fish.
common kingfisher facts
common kingfisher habitat
common kingfisher scientific name
common kingfisher diet