Bird Families

Turquoise kingfisher


Latin name:Alcedo atthis
Additionally:European species description

Appearance and behavior... About the size of a sparrow, body length 16-19 cm, of which about 4 cm falls on the beak, wingspan 25-29 cm, weight 25-45 g. The build is stocky, a large head with a very large beak stands out, the tail is very short. The flight is swift, straightforward, but quite maneuverable, the bird usually flies low above the water, while hunting it can hover in one place for several seconds. Often sits motionlessly on a branch or on a stone near the water for a long time, looking for prey, the landing is almost vertical. He rarely walks on the ground. It usually stays alone or in pairs, leads a diurnal lifestyle.

Description... The color is bright and contrasting: the upper part of the body is blue or blue with a greenish tint, there are light blue spots on the head and wings, and a white stripe on the sides of the neck. The bottom of the body is bright red, the throat is whitish, the cheeks are red, the mustache is blue. Legs are orange-red. In flight, a light blue back and tail stand out from above, which contrast with darker wings and head, white stripes on the neck are also clearly visible. The male and female are colored similarly, but the male has a completely black beak (sometimes there are reddish spots on the base of the mandible), in the female the entire mandible or its base is reddish-orange. In addition, the female has more green on her back and wings. Postbreeding molt begins in the summer and is complete or nearly complete. In winter plumage, the plumage is more dull and greenish; by the spring, due to wear of the feathers, the kingfisher becomes brighter and bluer.

A young bird is similar to an adult, but more greenish, the upper part of the body is more dull, on the chest there are dark streaks, sometimes forming a band, the legs are paler, the beak of birds of both sexes is blackish or brown-black, a reddish spot on the mandible of the female appears after about 2 months after flying out of the nest. At the same time, the young female is more greenish on top, and the young male is more blue and bright. Post-juvenile partial molt begins 1.5–2 months after emergence from the nest, and usually ends in winter or spring.

Vote... Voiced, high-pitched, shrill sounds and series of sounds such as "cit», «peek», «qi», «qi-qi-qi-qi", With a metallic tinge. During the mating season, they make current flights. Chicks in the hole emit a babbling trill, which can be heard from several meters away.

Distribution, status... Breeds in southern Eurasia and northern Africa. It hibernates in the southern parts of the nesting area, occasionally even in central Russia - in the presence of non-freezing water bodies. In general, a fairly common bird, but rare near the northern border of the range.

Lifestyle... During the nesting time, it occurs in various fresh or slightly saline reservoirs with trees and shrubs along the banks, most often it nests in steep banks of reservoirs in holes that it digs itself (it also occupies last year's burrows). A burrow with a straight tunnel, usually 0.4–0.8 m in diameter, has the shape of a vertical oval measuring 6–7 by 4.5–5.5 cm (the entrance is slightly larger). The tunnel ends with an expansion - a nesting chamber in the form of an oblate ball, there is almost no litter in it. In burrows built in sandy shores, birds sometimes smear the walls with liquid excrement, cementing them. Often pellets, consisting of small fish bones and scales, from which a kind of litter is formed in the nest, are often belched on the baits at the burrow and in the nesting chamber. There are usually 6–7 white eggs in a clutch. There are up to 4 nesting cycles per season. Both partners incubate eggs and feed chicks. Chicks hatch naked with pink skin, fully fledge and leave the burrow at the age of 22–25 days (nesting outfit) and after a few days become independent.

He prefers to hunt in areas with clear water and a slow current, he looks out for prey from a perch near the water, then dives after it. It feeds mainly on small fish, but also on other aquatic animals. During migration and wintering, it can be found in more diverse near-water habitats, including on the sea coasts.

In the lower reaches of the Volga and in the Crimea, lesser piebald kingfisherCetyle rudis... It is noticeably larger than the common kingfisher (body length 25 cm, wingspan 47 cm), longer-tailed, well distinguished by its black-and-white coloration and small crest. The male has two black sashes on his chest, the female has one. In the Black Sea and Caspian regions, flights are also possible red-nosed kingfisherHalcyon smyrnensis, similar in size to the small piebald, but with a massive red beak, tricolor chestnut-white-blue plumage, without a crest. Both species are widespread in the tropics of Asia.

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)


Turquoise kingfisher (lat. Alcedo quadribrachys ) Is an African bird of the kingfisher family.

1. Description

The turquoise kingfisher is 16 cm long, similar to the common kingfisher. It has a black beak, a blue head, the upper side of the wings is dark blue, the throat is white, the chest, belly and underside of the wings are reddish.

3. Behavior

The turquoise kingfisher hunts from an ambush. It feeds on small fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects.

4. Subspecies

Two subspecies are known. Scope of distribution Alcedo q. quadribrachys extends in West Africa from Senegal to Nigeria, while Alcedo q. guentheri distributed from southwestern Nigeria to Lake Victoria in the east and south to Zambia and northern Angola.

Notes (edit)

  1. Boehme R.L., Flint V.E. A five-language dictionary of animal names. Birds. Latin, Russian, English, German, French. / under the general editorship of Acad. V.E.Sokolova. - M .: Rus. lang., "RUSSO", 1994. - P. 174. - 2030 copies. - ISBN 5-200-00643-0


  • C. Hilary Fry & Kathie Fry: Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters, & Rollers... Princeton, New Jersey 1992, 1999, ISBN 0-691-04879-7
This abstract is based on an article from the Russian Wikipedia. Synchronization completed on 07/20/11 06:39:46 AM
Related abstracts: Alcedo, Alcedo atthis, Alcedo azurea, Alcedo cristata, Alcedo euryzona, Alcedo hercules.