Animals / Types of Birds / Kingfishers - Big-Headed Swooping Hunters

Kingfishers - Big-Headed Swooping Hunters



The kingfishers are scattered throughout the world but live mostly in Asia and Africa. There is no shortage of them, there are 86 different species. The length of a kingfisher’s body ranges from 4 to 18 inches (10 - 46 cm) long. They have large heads, a stocky body, and a short neck. The kingfisher also has a long pointy, straight beak, and its wings are round and short.



green kingfisher


dark green kingfisher


They are colorful birds. They are a mixture of blue, purple, red, and green. The females and males can be slightly different in appearance. The kingfishers are hunters and several of the species love to catch and eat fish. They do this in a rather spectacular way and this is what they are most known for. They dive straight down into the water from high above at the speed of lightning and come out holding a fish in their beak. They don’t swim, they merely enter the water as briefly as possible to extract an aquatic morsel then they return to their perch on the shore. Other species hunt for their food on the ground. They prey upon lizards, snakes, birds, insects and rodents. They use the same technique as the fish hunters, swooping down from high above, but they don’t have to touch the water.


dive hunting




king fisher face


They make nests in river bank tunnels, the hollows of trees or in termite nests. Quite a few species are at risk as their habitat has been reduced or destroyed. They are generally shy and stay away from humans.


collared kingfisher


perched kingfisher





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