Kingfishers are to be found all over Australia, but predominantly in coastal regions. We have 10 native species, including the kookaburra, which is the largest. Kingfishers nest in tree hollows, in burrows in riverbanks and in termite nests. They feed on small animals, including fish, frogs, yabbies, snakes, insects and nestlings of other birds. Covered in brilliant green, blue, turquoise and orange plumage, some kingfishers were once in danger of being hunted to extinction for their feathers.
Despite their elaborate appearance, these stocky birds are tough, and hunt by darting upon prey in a flash of colour from branches above the river or forest floor. The kingfisher’s heavy beak is the perfect tool for killing victims quickly – they smack their hapless prey against tree branches before swallowing it whole.
The Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx [Alcedo] azurea) length, 17–19cm; wingspan, 25–29cm makes its home along the banks of coastal and inland rivers, swamps and mangroves. During breeding season, it lines its nest with fish bones and scales. Found along much of our northern and eastern seaboards, as well as Tasmania, this species hunts for small mammals, reptiles, fish and frogs.
This one was seen in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. They are shy birds, usually keeping out of sight and easily disturbed if encountered, flying off rapidly.
This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.