A compact head, a long, tetrahedral beak, a short tail, and most importantly bright plumage, make the kingfisher recognizable from many birds. It can be mistaken for a tropical bird, although it lives far from the tropics.
In size, it is slightly smaller than a starling, and when a kingfisher flies over the river, the green-blue color makes it look like a small flying spark. Despite the exotic color, it is very rare to see it in the wild.
There are many legends about the name of the bird, why so called, kingfisher. One of them says that people could not find his nest for a long time and decided that the chicks hatch in the winter, that’s what they called pichugu.
Kingfisher features and habitat
In the world of birds, there are not many who need three elements at once. Kingfisher one of them. Water element is necessary for food, because it feeds mainly on fish. Air, natural and essential for birds. But in the earth he makes holes in which he lays eggs, brings up chicks and hides from enemies.
The most common species of this bird, common kingfisher. Belongs to the kingfisher family, the order is rash-shaped. It has a spectacular and original color, male and female of almost the same color.
It settles exclusively near water bodies with running and clean water. And since ecologically clean water is becoming less and less, the kingfisher chooses deaf habitats, away from the neighborhood with humans. Due to environmental pollution, the extinction of this bird is observed.
Kingfisher is a wonderful angler. In England it is called the king of fish. It has an amazing ability to fly very low above the water, without touching its wings. And he is able to sit motionless for hours on a branch above the water and wait for prey.
And as soon as the small fish shows its silvery back, kingfisher not yawning. Looking at a bird you never cease to be surprised at her agility and agility in fishing.
Kingfisher's character and lifestyle
Kingfisher burrow is easy to distinguish from other burrows. It is always dirty and the stench comes from it. And all from the fact that in the hole the bird eats the caught fish and feeds its brood with it. All bones, scales, insect wings remain in the nest, mixed with the feces of the chicks. All this starts to smell bad, and the larvae of the flies are simply swarming in the litter.
The bird prefers to settle away from its relatives. The distance between burrows reaches 1 km, and the closest 300 m. He is not afraid of man, but does not like ponds trodden and polluted by cattle, therefore kingfisher birdwho prefers loneliness.
Before the mating season, the female and the male live separately, only during mating they combine. The male brings the female a fish, she takes it in agreement. If not, he is looking for another girlfriend.
The nest has been used for several years in a row. But young couples are forced to dig new burrows for their offspring. The offspring season is extended. You can find holes with eggs, chicks, and some chicks already fly and feed on their own.
The bird is very gluttonous. She eats food up to 20% of her body weight per day. And there are chicks and cubs on the side. And everyone needs to be fed. So he sits, motionlessly above the water, patiently waiting for prey.
Having caught the fish, the kingfisher rushes into its hole with an arrow, while predators larger than it took it away. Rushing through the bushes and roots that hide the hole from prying eyes, he manages not to drop the fish. But it is heavier than the kingfisher itself.
Now we need to turn it over so that it enters the mouth with only its head. After these manipulations, the kingfisher, after sitting for a while in the hole and resting, is taken again for fishing. This continues until sunset.
But he does not always succeed in catching fish, often he misses and prey goes to the depth, and the hunter takes his former place.
Well, if fishing is tight, the kingfisher begins to hunt small river bugs and insects, does not disdain tadpoles and dragonflies. And even small frogs fall into the field of view of the bird.
Reproduction and longevity
One of the few birds that dig holes to incubate masonry and raise chicks there. A place is chosen above the river, in a steep bank, inaccessible to predators and people. A female and a male dig a hole, in turn.
They dig with their beaks, they dig the earth out of the hole with their paws. At the end of the tunnel, a small circular egg chamber is made. The depth of the tunnel varies from 50 cm to 1 measure.
Nora has nothing to line with, but if it has been used for more than one year, a litter of fish bones and scales is formed in it. The eggshell also partially goes to the litter. In this gloomy and damp nest, the kingfisher will hatch eggs and raise helpless chicks.
The masonry consists of 5-8 eggs, which are hatched in turn by the male and female. Chicks appear after 3 weeks, naked and blind. They are very voracious and eat only one fish.
Parents have to spend all the time in the pond, waiting patiently for prey. A month later, the chicks get out of the hole, learn to fly and catch small fish.
Feeding occurs in order of priority. The parent knows for sure which chick he fed before. Small fish goes to the offspring's mouth head first. Sometimes a fish is larger than the nestling itself and one tail peeps out of the mouth. As the fish digests, it sinks lower and the tail disappears.
In addition to its chicks, the kingfisher may have a couple of three broods. And feeds everyone, like a decent dad. Females do not even know about polygamy of a male.
But if for some reason the hole is disturbed during the brooding or feeding of the chicks, it will not return there. A female with a brood will be left to its own devices.
Under favorable conditions, a pair of kingfishers can make one or even two clutches. While dad is feeding the chicks, the female incubates a new egg laying. All chicks grow up by mid-August and are able to fly.
Kingfishers live 12-15 years. But many do not live to such a respectable age. Some of them die while their fledglings are not fledged, if the male throws the nest, some become the prey of large predators.
A large number of kingfishers die during long flights, unable to withstand the difficulties of long distances.