Kingfisher(s): I Will Survive
The common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) also known as Eurasian kingfisher, or river kingfisher, is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa.
It is about 16 centimetres (6.3 in) long with a wingspan of 25 cm (9.8 in), and weighs 34–46 grams (1.2–1.6 oz).
This sparrow-sized bird has the typical short-tailed, large-headed kingfisher profile; it has blue upperparts, orange underparts and a long bill. It feeds mainly on fish, caught by diving, and has special visual adaptions to enable it to see prey under water. The glossy white eggs are laid in a nest at the end of a burrow in a riverbank.
The flight of the kingfisher is fast, direct and usually low over water. The short rounded wings whirr rapidly, and a bird flying away shows an electric-blue "flash" down its back.
Like all kingfishers, the common kingfishers is highly territorial. If another kingfisher enters its territory, both birds display from perches, and fights may occur, where a bird will grab the other's beak and try to hold it under water.
The common kingfisher typically lays five to seven (range two to ten) glossy white eggs, One or two eggs in most clutches fail to hatch because the parent cannot cover them.
The eggs hatch in 19–20 days, and the altricial young are in the nest for a further 24–25 days, often more. The early days for fledged juveniles are more hazardous; during its first dives into water, about four days after leaving the nest, a fledgling may become waterlogged and drown.
Most kingfishers die of cold or lack of food, and a severe winter can kill a high percentage of the birds.
Only a quarter of the young survive to breed the following year, but this is enough to maintain the population.