Kingfisher – bright bird
The birds known as kingfishers are found all over the world, but most kinds live in tropical areas. Many kingfishers are brightly colored. There are about 90 kinds of kingfisher throughout the world. All are famous for their swift dives. Many kingfishers have crests on their large heads. Their bills are long and heavy and help to catch fish as they swoop into the water.
Kingfishers are about 10 to 46 centimeters long. Their feathers come in many colors. Many kingfishers have blue feathers on their back and reddish or white feathers on their belly. Kingfishers are also known for chasing and attacking each other in the air.
The belted kingfishers live in North America. They have shaggy black crest and bluish gray feathers on the upper part of the body and white on the bottom part. The belted kingfisher makes its nest in a hole that it digs in the ground close to streams and lakes. They eat only fish. A pair of belted kingfishers will take turns digging a tunnel into a riverbank to create their nest. They dig with their bills and use their feet to kick the loose dirt.
Some kingfishers live in forests. The most well-known is kookaburra of Australia. It eats reptiles, including poisonous snakes.
The shoe-billed kingfisher of tropical forests of New Guinea, is a terrestrial bird that is specialized for digging earthworms.
The green kingfisher occurs only in south Texas and Arizona, and more widely in Mexico.
Kingfishers are very voracious; they eat up to 20 percent of their weight a day.
The smallest in the world (less than sparrows) ruby kingfisher, inhabiting the Philippine Islands, eats small crustaceans, aquatic insects and their larvae. The largest of the family is the royal kingfisher (its length is about half a meter), inhabiting the mountains of New Guinea, in a hungry year digs out worms from the soil, and generally prefers to eat quite large crabs.
Kingfishers spend their time alone until it is time to mate. During the mating season, the birds pair up to build nests for their eggs. The parents raise their young together. When the babies are old enough, the parents go off on their own again.
Kingfishers are monogamous. They spend their whole life with one partner.
Kingfishers can live as long as 15 years.