Friday, 13 March 2015

Day 132 - Kingly Kingfishers

My usual Kingfisher (Alcedo Atthisphoto - 
a blur in the disctance
Hi all today's Day 132 and yesterday marked the end of my Complex Cloud series for now, but I may come back to it. I thought I'd start my normal blog off with a bang. These birds are really lovely and I just love seeing them fly through the air or perching on a branch. I am of course talking about Kingfishers. They've been tricky for me to photograph, mostly just a blur in the distance by the time I have my camera ready! The time I was able to watch one sitting still just outside Kingfisher Hide at Fairburn Ings, posing nicely for 10-15 minutes I hadn't got my camera with me!! When I do have my camera with me and we`re at the hide, we always pretend to walk away and then turn back quickly, imagining they do the "dancing pandas" and appear, like in the TV advert, as soon as our backs are turned! ;-)

Anyway, without further ado, here are the facts:

  • The kingfisher is such a lovely bird that it has been given the local name Halcyon which means a time in the past that was perfectly happy.
  • They are small birds being only 16cm in length and only having a 25cm wingspan. They also only weigh 40g.
In this shot you can see the Kingfisher doesn't always
look quite so colourful
  • My Grandad always tells little riddles and one of them is about kingfishers. Kingfishers aren't actually blue, green and orange as it appears to everyone. They are actually brown!
  • This is due to the way the light reflects on their feathers. The feathers are interfering with the wavelengths of the light projecting the range of colours which we see.
  • There is only one species of kingfisher in the UK which is the Ispida. This is one of 7 species of Kingfisher.
  • The Latin name for a Kingfisher is Alcedo Atthis. Alcedo meaning Kingfisher and Atthis means a beautiful young woman of Lesbos and a favourite of Sappho.
  • They are an Amber Status bird because of their short numbers in Europe. It is a 3 concern in Europe meaning that it has depleted...
  • ...But in the UK there are a fair few, 3,800-4,600 breeding pairs. Considering they have a clutch size of about 5-7 and have 1-3 clutches a year, this could increase very quickly.
  • Staying on the subject of breeding, Kingfishers court by catching a fish and facing its head towards a female's and then feeds the fish to the female. Once a male and a female have laid eggs, then they have to work extra hard to feed their children. They sometimes have to catch 100 fish a day to feed the demanding young.
  • An average Kingfisher will successfully raise around 2.4 Kingfishers. Of course this could vary up and down depending on how many clutches they have and how many children they have in total but the average is 2.4. Personally, though. I would like to raise a full child. (that one's for you Roy :-)
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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