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Doug J | all galleries >> Birds, Birds, Birds >> Non-passeriformes Gallery > Common Kingfisher
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Common Kingfisher
Copyright Douglas Janson

Common Kingfisher

Also called: Eurasian Kingfisher or River Kingfisher

Scientific name:
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Alcedinidae

Probably the sub-species: A. a. bengalensis

This little guy hides under a bridge at the Chinese Garden, Singapore - no hot sun or rain and he's perched right on top of a nice pond for fishing :).

The Common Kingfisher is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa.

Common Kingfishers are important members of ecosystems and good indicators of freshwater community health. 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. These habitats have also the highest quality of water, so the presence of this bird confirms the standard of the water.

The Common Kingfisher hunts from a perch 1–2 m (3–6 ft) above the water, on a branch, post or riverbank, bill pointing down as it searches for prey. 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 (19 in) below the surface. The wings are opened under water and the open eyes are protected by the transparent third eyelid.

The bird rises beak-first from the surface and flies back to its perch. At the perch the fish is adjusted until it is held near its tail and beaten against the perch several times. Once dead, the fish is positioned lengthways and swallowed head-first. A few times each day, a small greyish pellet of fish bones and other indigestible remains is regurgitated.


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