Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is a small, colorful bird belonging to the family Alcedinidae. It is found throughout much of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, inhabiting a range of freshwater habitats such as rivers, streams, and ponds. The Common Kingfisher feeds primarily on fish, which it catches by diving into the water from a perch.
The Common Kingfisher measures around 16-17 centimeters (6.3-6.7 inches) in length, with a wingspan of approximately 25-29 centimeters (9.8-11.4 inches). It has a distinctive blue and orange plumage, with bright blue feathers on the back, wings, and tail, and orange-brown feathers on the belly and breast. The bird has a large, pointed bill and short legs. The male and female share similar coloration and markings, with little sexual dimorphism.
The Common Kingfisher primarily feeds on fish, as well as crustaceans, insects, and other aquatic animals. The bird hunts by perching on a branch or other elevated perch near the water’s edge, scanning the water for prey before diving down to catch its target with its sharp bill. The Common Kingfisher is able to dive to depths of up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) to catch fish.
Reproduction and Lifecycle:
The breeding season for the Common Kingfisher typically occurs between March and August, depending on the location. These birds are monogamous and form pair bonds that can last for several breeding seasons. They build a nest in a burrow in the riverbank or other earthen bank, often lined with fish bones, scales, and other materials.
The female lays 4 to 7 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 19-21 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they fledge, or leave the nest, at about 24-25 days old. The young birds become fully independent within a few weeks of fledging.
The Common Kingfisher is currently listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. However, the species could face potential threats from habitat loss due to riverbank erosion, pollution, and other human activities. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation, monitoring populations, and reducing disturbances to nesting sites to ensure the long-term survival of the species.