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Kingfishers

Kingfishers
 
Alcedinidae 

Green Kingfisher, photo by Mike DanzenbakerBelted Kingfisher, photo by Tom VezoRinged Kingfisher, photo by Brian Small

The family Alcedinidae includes 3 species found in North America.

Kingfishers occur in many habitats, usually near water and/or in woods and forests on all continents and many islands. Most species have a long, strong, pointed bill. The legs are short.

Kingfishers feed on many kinds of animals, including fish, insects and other terrestrial arthropods, frogs, lizards, crabs, mollusks, snails, birds, mice and occasionally plants. Most species are sit-and-wait predators, perching on a branch and flying down to capture fish or terrestrial prey. Living prey items are often beaten on a branch before being swallowed. Some kingfishers hover over water and dive from the wing.

Kingfishers nest in holes, lay nearly round white eggs, and do not remove the nestling's droppings. Both sexes incubate. The eggs are laid at one-day intervals and incubation begins with the first egg, thus hatch at one-day intervals and the young are of different sizes, the oldest up to a week older than the youngest. When food is scarce only the older nestlings survive and there is much competition for the food brought by the parents.

Belted Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Ringed Kingfisher

Links:
Kingfishers - Patuxent Bird ID Center