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Kingfisher

The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) also known as Eurasian Kingfisher or River Kingfisher.


Kingfishers are one of Britain’s most interesting birds. Their vivid colour is iridescence, not pigment – the pigment is actually dark brown! Interference between different wavelengths of light reflected from different layers of the feathers produces blues, greens and oranges. The feathers on the bird’s back can seem blue or green depending on the angle at which they are viewed.


They are widespread, especially in central and southern England, becoming less common further north.

Kingfishers prefer still or slow flowing water such as lakes, canals and rivers in lowland areas. In winter, some individuals move to estuaries and the coast. Occasionally they may visit garden ponds if of a suitable size.


They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish and aquatic insects from riverside perches, sometimes hovering above the water's surface.


The Kingfisher has special visual adaptations to enable it to pursue its prey under water. Their glossy white eggs are laid in a nest at the end of a burrow in a riverbank.


They are vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe.