Scientific Name: Alcedo atthis
Name: Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher has wide range, where several subspecies are living.
Size in cm:
Adult male has turquoise-green upperparts with brighter turquoise rump. Tail is blue. Wings are darker blue, finely spotted with turquoise on greater coverts. The underparts are rufous-orange, slightly darker on flanks. On the head, crown and malar stripe are blue, finely spotted with paler blue and black. Lores and ear-coverts are rufous-orange. We can see a black eye-stripe. Chin, throat and neck-sides are white. The long, pointed bill is dark. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are bright orange. Female is similar to male, except for the bill where the lower mandible is orange.
Juvenile is duller than adults, greener on the upperparts and paler below, with greyer legs.
The Common Kingfisher has several subspecies which differ in size and colour intensity.
Size in Inch
orange (Bird may have more colors)
The Common Kingfisher feeds mainly on fish and small crustaceans, prawns, crabs and others. It catches insects in flight.
Habit and habited:
The Common Kingfisher lives in quiet waters with vegetation on the shores such as reeds and shrubs for perches, and small fishes for feeding. It may be found along streams of all kinds, lakes and ponds. It needs suitable banks during the breeding season for nesting. It tends to be more coastal in winter, and may be seen in estuaries, rocky seashores and harbours. Populations living in tropical regions frequent mangroves, swamps, wet grasslands and rivers with dense vegetation on banks.
Call is a high-pitched, shrill chee, usually repeated and chit-it-it alarm call.
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. It is resident in much of its range, but migrates from areas where rivers freeze in winter.
This sparrow-sized bird has the typical short-tailed, large-headed kingfisher profile; it has blue upperparts, orange underparts and a long bill. It feeds mainly on fish, caught by diving, and has special visual adaptations to enable it to see prey under water. The glossy white eggs are laid in a nest at the end of a burrow in a riverbank.
This species has the typical short-tailed, dumpy-bodied large-headed and long-billed kingfisher shape. 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. It has a green-blue neck stripe, white neck blaze and throat, rufous underparts, and a black bill with some red at the base. The legs and feet are bright red. It is about 16 centimetres (6.3 in) long with a wingspan of 25 cm (9.8 in),and weighs 34–46 grams (1.2–1.6 oz).
The female is identical in appearance to the male except that her lower mandible is orange-red with a black tip. The juvenile is similar to the adult, but with duller and greener upperparts and paler underparts. Its bill is black, and the legs are also initially black. Feathers are moulted gradually between July and November with the main flight feathers taking 90–100 days to moult and regrow. Some that moult late may suspend their moult during cold winter weather.
The flight of the kingfisher is fast, direct and usually low over water. The short rounded wings whirr rapidly, and a bird flying away shows an electric-blue "flash" down its back.
In North Africa, Europe and Asia north of the Himalayas this is the only small blue kingfisher. 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 kingfisher; details of the head pattern may be necessary to differentiate the two species where both occur.
The Common Kingfisher feeds mainly on fishes, taken from perches above the water. The bird waits for long moments, watching for preys by turning and bobbing head and body. When the prey is detected, it dives steeply and catches the fish under water, at about one metre in depth. Then, using its wings, it propels itself and raises bill first and returns to its perch.
It holds the fish near the tail and beats it against the perch, and then, it turns the fish and swallows it head first.
Common Kingfisher also hovers above the water if any perch is available, and then, it dives.
It also takes insects in flight.
It regularly regurgitates pellets with fish bones and hard parts of insects.
While diving, the eyes are protected from the water by a membrane.
The Common Kingfisher is usually solitary. It is territorial because it needs food enough every day. The territory is strongly defended from other species, but also from mates and youngs.
There is a ritual display showing the birds perched separately, and displaying feathers and beaks, while they utter whistles. Usually, there is not combat, but sometimes, the birds may fight.
They call in flight and display from perches, crouching and stretching, the body swaying from side to side. They also may sit upright with the neck outstretched and wings dropped. Then, the intruder is chased away from the territory.
The populations of Common Kingfishers of the northern parts of the range migrate southwards in winter because waters are freezing, preventing to fish.
The southern populations are sedentary.
During the breeding season, it is monogamous and solitary nester. Female receives food from the male before the copulation, usually a fish.