Kingfisher female, on his fishing post
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Scientific name : Alcedo atthis
Family : Alcédinidés
L de 16 à 17 cm, E de 24 à 26 cm
The kingfisher has an compact body, his short neck supports his big head that extends a sharp beak,the tail and legs are short. The head is a slightly darker blue-green as the body, gloss place to place. A redhead band that emphasizes a broad blue stripe runs from the nose to the temples, over white throat. The cheeks and belly are bright red-orange. The wings are blue-green. The scapulars and blankets have a green color with bright blue ends which contrasts with the blue tint gloss cobalt mantle, back and rump. The feathers are a little darker and the tail is dark blue. The chest is orange-red, the beak is black with the red commissures. The iris is dark brown, red legs.
The adult female is similar to male, except the spout completely black to the males, while the lower mandible is orange red with a black tip at the female. The kingfisher colors, have also a special feature: according to incidence of light, metallic blue of its plumage is different shades. These reflections are an excellent camouflage when it flies low over the water.
Generally the kingfisher is a loner who, as an adult, defends a territory, usually a portion of watercourses or water stretch of about a kilometer long. The kingfisher's call is a strident cry 'tchiii'. Before even seeing the bird, it is often at his usual cry that we spot the kingfisher.
The flight of the kingfisher is fast and direct, to 40-45 km / h. He often flies over the river, very close to the water surface, the gliding flight is used only for short distances, especially in some seconds of accessing perch.
This is a bird that feeds on small fish and small aquatic animals. He visits a circuit on its territory by landing on roosts he knows, well disposed for watching its prey. If his position is high enough, it plummets directly, and resurfaced quickly, thanks to the buoyancy thrust resulting from air trapped under his plumage. When his attempt is rewarded, it arises and begins to knock out its prey by beating on his branch by alternating head movements, before swallowing it head first, so that the fins no resistance . Sometimes circumstances require him to launch the fish into the air to catch him in the right position.
The kingfisher nest in a burrow usually dug in the bank of a watercourse. Nidification is preceded by courtship display that includes noisy aerial chases, the two partners sometimes flying flush with the surface of the water, sometimes above the tops of riparian trees. It can last for long hours and normally ends when the male presents a site to the female. The female lays six or seven eggs. Egg laying intervenes from April to July. Both adults incubate take turns and feed the young. After approximately 4 weeks, the young leave the nest and are quickly able to feed themselves. When winter comes, male and female separates, but each one continues to defend some of the common territory, but with less aggressiveness.
The species is protected in France and Europe.