Common Name: Kingfisher

Type: Bird

Family: Alcedines

Range: Different types of Kingfishers live both in wetlands and woodlands throughout the world. Costa Rica is a magnificent place for birds’ watches. You can see three species of Kingfishers along the river to Tortuguero. There is Amazon Kingfisher, the Ringed Kingfisher and the smallest kingfisher called the Green Kingfisher. These can be found on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The world has 90 species of kingfishers but only six are available in the U.S.A. AII of the six is available in Costa Rica. These are frequently seen by tourists along rivers side. The mostly seen species are the green and the ringed kingfishers.

Size: Different species of kingfisher have different sizes and vary form 10cm – 37.5cm (4in – 15in) Their Wingspan can be 20cm – 66centimeter (7.8 – 26inches)

Weight: The average weight of a kingfisher could be 10gram – 170grams (0.4oz – 6oz)

Kingfishers are omnivore. Their main feed is fish but also eat insects, and frogs. Those Kingfishers are living in the forest sometime eat birds, reptile and small mammals.

Average life span: The average lifespan of a kingfisher is around 6 – 10 years

Habitat: Kingfishers occupy a wide range of habitats. They usually make their habitat at lowland freshwater areas and river estuaries. They are often related with lakes and rivers, over half the world’s species are available in forests and wooded streams. They also inhabit in a wide range of other habitats. Several species have adapted to human modified habitats, as well as gardens and parks in cities and towns. They are available throughout Costa Rica including the National Parks.

Breeding/Reproduction: Kingfishers have a long breeding season, it is from March to July, and most of the pairs is having at least two broods and raising an average of six young in a year. This high reproductive rate permits them to bounce back from dips in their population, most of which follow hard winters.

Foxes, Snakes, Raccoons

Kingfishers are found in Costa Rica abundantly. The female Kingfishers are more colorful and beautiful than male. Thus, male and female kingfishers can be differentiated easily.

Kingfishers belong to the phylum chordate, their classis aves, have the order coraciiform and they lie in the suborder aledines and family alcedinidae. They are very bright colored birds and have a total of ninety species. These species differ a lot but are still placed in one family.

They can be distinguished by their Rufus belly which is most prominent even on their breasts. They have large heads. The bills are sharp and pointed and are long for the species that hunt fishes and short for the species who hunt their prey from the ground. The beaks are black for males while females’ beaks are red from lower side. The legs are short and they have stubby tails. They can be easily identified due to their colorful features. Most of the species have four toes and the three of these toes are always pointed forward. It makes us clearer of its presence by its rattling sound. They do not actually tell about their presence rather by seeing them we come to know that fresh water is near.

Kingfishers eat a wide range of prey, they even eat fish. They have a protecting membrane in their eyes which protect them when they attack under water and they are able to see underwater. It eats almost sixty percent of its body weight daily. Similarly, they have a wide range of habitats these habitats are usually lakes and rivers. They prefer to live on cool and damp places. They are easily adoptable to any habitat. They become familiar to a habitat in a couple of days. It makes it easy for them to survive.

They have territories and if another kingfisher enters their territory they fight with each other. They are great fighters and bite each other’s beaks while fighting.

They don’t move their eyes too much rather they move their heads to see what is going on. This is a distinguished characteristic.

They have been the ability by God that they can judge the depth of water very easily. This makes it easy for them to catch fishes.

They lay white colored eggs which are shiny. Some of the species lay 2 eggs while other species lay ten eggs each time. The eggs are almost two cm wide, 2.3 cm long and have a weight of 4.2 g, 5-6% of which is the shell or the case.

Their nests are in the tunnels. Both the parents care for their offspring and nest. They protect them and feed their young ones.

Most of Kingfisher species are endangered by human activities. The endangered species are mostly forest species and are being destroyed due to clearing of forests. Disturbing the lakes disturbs them. It can survive warm as well as cold weather but it cannot survive the absence of slow moving water.

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