Common kingfisher

Possessed with special visual adaptations to catch fish

Pierre Dalous

A fascinating bird species that thrives in mild climates across North Africa, Asia, Europe, and the northern Himalayas. Renowned for its stunning appearance and remarkable hunting abilities, the Common Kingfisher is a cherished sight along rivers, streams, and other freshwater habitats.

Unlike many migratory birds, the Common Kingfisher does not embark on long-distance migrations. Instead, it exhibits a unique behavior of migrating at night from regions with harsh and prolonged winters where rivers freeze over. This nocturnal migration strategy allows the bird to seek out milder climates where it can continue to find suitable hunting grounds throughout the year.

Physically, the Common Kingfisher is a small bird, approximately the size of a sparrow, with distinctive features that make it instantly recognizable. It boasts vibrant blue upperparts that shimmer in the sunlight, while its underparts are adorned with a striking orange hue. Its short tail, long bill, and large head are perfectly adapted for its hunting lifestyle, enabling it to dive swiftly and accurately into the water to catch its prey.

Speaking of prey, the diet of the Common Kingfisher is primarily composed of fish, which make up a significant portion of its daily intake. In fact, studies have shown that the bird must consume around 60% of its body weight in food each day to sustain its energy levels. This dependence on fish underscores the importance of pristine freshwater habitats, as the presence of a healthy fish population is crucial for the survival of the Common Kingfisher.

Interestingly, the abundance of Common Kingfishers in a particular area can serve as a valuable indicator of water quality. These birds are known to prefer habitats with the highest water quality, as they rely on clear, unpolluted waterways to hunt effectively. Thus, the presence of a thriving population of Common Kingfishers can be interpreted as a positive sign of environmental health and ecosystem integrity.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2016
Breeding
Albania
2016
Algeria
2016
Andorra
2016
Armenia
2016
Breeding
Austria
2016
Azerbaijan
2016
Bahrain
2016
Non-Breeding
Bangladesh
2016
Breeding
Belarus
2016
Belgium
2016
Bhutan
2016
Breeding
Bosnia And Herz.
2016
Breeding
Brunei
2016
Bulgaria
2016
Cambodia
2016
Breeding
China
2016
Breeding
Croatia
2016
Cyprus
2016
Czechia
2016
Denmark
2016
East Timor
2016
Egypt
2016
Estonia
2016
Finland
2016
France
2016
Georgia
2016
Breeding
Germany
2016
Gibraltar
2016
Non-Breeding
Greece
2016
Guam
2016
Vagrant
Hong Kong
2016
Breeding
Hungary
2016
India
2016
Breeding
Indonesia
2016
Breeding
Iran
2016
Iraq
2016
Ireland
2016
Israel
2016
Italy
2016
Japan
2016
Breeding
Jordan
2016
Kazakhstan
2016
Breeding
Korea
2016
Breeding
Kuwait
2016
Kyrgyzstan
2016
Breeding
Laos
2016
Breeding
Latvia
2016
Lebanon
2016
Libya
2016
Liechtenstein
2016
Lithuania
2016
Luxembourg
2016
Macao
2016
Seasonality Uncertain
Malaysia
2016
Breeding
Maldives
2016
Vagrant
Malta
2016
Non-Breeding
Micronesia
2016
Origin Uncertain
Moldova
2016
Mongolia
2016
Breeding
Montenegro
2016
Breeding
Morocco
2016
Myanmar
2016
Breeding
Nepal
2016
Breeding
Netherlands
2016
North Korea
2016
Breeding
North Macedonia
2016
Norway
2016
Breeding
Oman
2016
Non-Breeding
Pakistan
2016
Breeding
Palau
2016
Origin Uncertain
Papua New Guinea
2016
Breeding
Philippines
2016
Poland
2016
Portugal
2016
Qatar
2016
Non-Breeding
Romania
2016
Russia
2016
Breeding
Saudi Arabia
2016
Non-Breeding
Serbia
2016
Breeding
Singapore
2016
Slovakia
2016
Slovenia
2016
Solomon Islands
2016
Breeding
Spain
2016
Sri Lanka
2016
Breeding
Sudan
2016
Non-Breeding
Sweden
2016
Switzerland
2016
Syria
2016
Taiwan
2016
Breeding
Tajikistan
2016
Breeding
Thailand
2016
Breeding
Tunisia
2016
Turkey
2016
Turkmenistan
2016
Breeding
UAE
2016
Ukraine
2016
United Kingdom
2016
Uzbekistan
2016
Breeding
Vietnam
2016
Breeding
Yemen
2016
Non-Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No