15 Facts about Kingfisher

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Kingfisher remains to be one of the most easily recognizable bird species. It’s their powerful bills that enable them to spearfish when they dive into the water. All across the globe, these unique-looking birds are enjoyed by everyone to watch. Now let’s find out some unknown facts about the kingfisher.

15 Facts about Kingfisher

1. Adaptive to human development

Even though kingfishers are shy in nature they take good advantage of human made canals and waterways to build the nest, fish and raise the young ones. There are chances that these stream developments can either improve or words in the condition for kingfishers. They are not usually attracted to bird feeders but you might spot one near the stream in a rural area.

2. Similar looking male and female

The males and females which look similar are termed as sexually dimorphic. When it comes to kingfishers some are sexually dimorphic whereas others aren’t. This completely depends on the species of the Kingfisher. But in some cases, even the sexually dimorphic kingfishers look similar.

3. Impale the prey with bills

It is their sharp bills and strong head and neck muscles which help them to impale their prey. This is done by diving into the stream with great speed and aiming at their prey. Slippery fish have chances of wriggling out of a beak but when it is imperiald on a kingfisher’s bill, there is no way out.

4. Most active during mornings and evenings

In the entire animal Kingdom dawn and dusk are the high activity periods. It’s similar for the kingfishers too as they rely on the movement of fishes and invertebrates for their meal. The fishes and frogs are the most active during the morning and evening hours as compared to the night or middle of the day. So the Kingfisher takes advantage of this and heights in shadows so that it doesn’t frighten its prey.

5. Ambush predators

The fish eating kingfishers usually look for a branch that hangs out over the water and sit perfectly still without making a single move. After a while when they spot an opening they type right in with great speed into the water spearing their prey with the tip of their beak. This hunting skill requires good eyesight, fast flying skills, and a lot of patience.

6. Large head and bills

It’s evident that kingfishers’ heads and bills are disproportionate to their bodies. Their well-developed masculator helps their neck and protects their brain from the impact of their speedy dives. It’s their large skull that supports the powerful eyes to locate their prey even underwater.

7. They have hydrodynamic beaks

It has beaks that are wedged shaped and pointed tips. This makes their dive with minimal splash, noise, and water disruption so that the fish don’t become alert. Japan made a note of this and used it in its design to shape its new bullet train. This helps them to cut down on air pressure and wind noise also giving it a good speed.

8. Ability to digest bones

Right from birth the Kingfisher chicks are born with extremely powerful stomach acids. They are useful for the digestion of bones, scales and shells of the fish and other invertebrates which their parents feed them. After turning into adults, their stomach acid grows less powerful. The adult kingfishers spit up the bone pellets, just like the owls.

9. Monogamous pairs raise chicks together

The Kingfishers pair up are monogamous and every year they find new mates. The mated pairs furnish the nest, hunt and incubate their young ones together. Both the males and females are highly territorial and defend their areas from other kingfishers.

10. Total 114 species

The Kingfishers are found almost in every nook and corner of the world except for Antarctica. They live mostly in Asia, Africa, and Australia. Whereas the southeast Asia and Australian islands have the highest number of kingfishers.

11. Nest in burrows or tree cavities

You might find birds nesting on trees but for kingfishers it’s underground. It’s a joint effort taken by both males and females to excavate a barrow from a Sandy river bank. The burrow has a tunnel which ends in a round chamber. They also nest in tree cavities close to the water.

12. Three kinds: water, river, and tree kingfisher

These kinds are divided mainly based on their diet and habitat.

The tree kingfishers generally eat up lizards, mammals and worms. They do not require being close to the water bodies.

River kingfishers eat up frogs, insects, spiders, flies and tadpoles. They even perch and dive for their prey in rivers and streams.

Water kingfishers share their similarities with river kingfishers, but they only depend on fish for their food.

13. Live everywhere except Antarctica

Anywhere you find water there are chances of having kingfishers there. They need rivers, streams, and wetlands to survive. Since Antarctica has extremely low temperatures it’s unfavorable for them to live there.

14. Hunted during the Victorian era

The majestic birds were short and stuffed to put in glass cases and their feathers were widely used to beautify hats.

15. Flying pace

They have only one ability to fly at a fast pace and straight but at times they can even hover when fishing.


As unique as they are in their appearance, so are their traits. Monogamous in nature, Swift perches on the prey, nesting in burrows and ambushing predators. No doubt they amaze us in every possible way.

Read also16 Facts about A R Rahman

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