Kingfishers are a species of medium-sized, vividly pigmented birds in the tropical regions of Asia, Oceania, and Africa.
All kingfishers have long, sharp, pointed bills, large heads, short legs, and stocky tails. Most varieties have bright plumage, with only little variations between the sexes. Most kingfishers are tropical in distribution, and a small majority are found only in forests.
Kingfishers like to stay clean and bathe by diving into the water and resting in the sun to dry and trim their feathers. Some use their wings to rub and prick the top of their head. They also keep that majestic bill clean by scraping it against a branch until they are convinced that the bill is in excellent condition.
What to Kingfishers eat?
Kingfishers feast on a wide variety of prey. They are well-known for trapping and hunting fish, and some species do specialize in catching fish. Other species hunt down frogs, crabs, and other amphibians, annelid worms, spiders, annelid worms, insects, centipedes, and including snakes, and even mammals and birds. Individual species may specialize in a few items or take a wide variety of prey, and for ranges with extensive global distributions, diverse populations may have different diets. Forest and Woodland kingfishers eat grasshoppers, whereas the water kingfishers are more specialized in hunting down fish. The red-backed kingfisher has been seen banging into the mud dens of fairy martins to feast on their nestlings.
How to Kingfishers hunt?
This small but skillful predator is capable of some of the most sensational aerial tactics in the animal kingdom. The most giant bird capable of floating midflight, the kingfisher can boast several techniques for finding and catching the naive fish below.
From its floating-point over a stream or river, the bird beholds its prey and looks on with curiosity. From as high as 32 feet above the waterway, a kingfisher can spy on a fish and then wait quietly aloft by swiftly beating its wings as fast as twelve times a second. To maintain the same position as fish’s precise co-ordinates, the kingfisher must keep its head nearly completely still, allowing the wings and counteracting tail to do all the job.
When ready, the kingfisher hits, delivering a measured vertical dive to guarantee its dart-like bill is the primary thing to enter the river. Though streamlined and sharp, it still produces shockwaves through the water that can scare a fish, so the speed is essential. Indeed, the difference between the kingfisher catching the fish or not can come down to a mere 40th of a second! If the fish responds within that time, it’s likely to run out of harm’s way, and the kingfisher will go empty.
If successful (mostly the case), the kingfisher slides off fish in beak, back to its favorite point – usually a riverbank perch. It surprises the fish by knocking it against a hard surface before eating it headfirst into its throat.