/king"fish'euhr/, n.any of numerous fish- or insect-eating birds of the family Alcedinidae that have a large head and a long, stout bill and are usually crested and brilliantly colored.[1400-50; KING + FISHER; r. king's fisher, late ME kinges fisher]
* * *Any of about 90 species of birds (family Alcedinidae), many of which fish for their food.Solitary birds, kingfishers are found worldwide but are chiefly tropical. They have a large head, long and usually narrow bill, compact body, small feet, and usually a short or medium-length tail. Species range from 4 to 18 in. (10–45 cm) long; most have bright, boldly patterned plumage, and many are crested. They utter rattling or piping calls, and they plunge into the water for small fish and other aquatic animals. The only widespread North American species, the belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon), is bluish gray above and white below. The forest kingfishers (e.g., kookaburra) have a broader bill.
* * *▪ birdany of about 90 species of birds (bird) in three families, noted for their spectacular dives into water. They are worldwide in distribution but are chiefly tropical. They have large heads, long and massive bills, and compact bodies and range in length from 10 to 42 cm (4 to 16.5 inches). Their feet are small, and with a few exceptions the tail is short or medium in length. Most species have vivid plumage in bold patterns, and many are crested.These vocal, colourful birds are renowned for their dramatic hunting techniques. Typically the bird sits still, watching for movement from a favourite perch. Having sighted its quarry, it plunges into the water and catches the fish usually no deeper than 25 cm (10 inches) below the surface in its dagger-shaped bill. With a swift downstroke of the wings, it bobs to the surface. It then takes the prey back to the perch and stuns the fish by beating it against the perch before swallowing it. Many species also eat crustaceans (crustacean), amphibians (amphibian), and reptiles (reptile).The typical kingfishers (subfamily Alcedininae) are river dwellers, like the belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon), the only widespread North American species. This handsome crested bird flies off over the water when disturbed, uttering a loud, rattling call. It is about 30 cm (12 inches) long and is bluish gray above and across the breast and white below. Only the females sport the brownish red band or “belt” across the lower breast. In its courtship ritual, the male offers fish to the female as she perches. After copulation, the pair circle high overhead and chase each other while crying shrilly.Stretching 43 cm (17 inches) long and weighing 465 grams (16 ounces), the largest of all kingfishers is the kookaburra, known throughout Australia for its laughing call. The kookaburra's white head has a handsome brown eyestripe. The back and wings are dark brown and the underparts white. Often found in urban and suburban areas, it can become quite tame and may be fed by hand. A member of the subfamily Daceloninae, or forest kingfishers, it captures insects (insect), snails (snail), frogs (frog), reptiles, and small birds on the ground. It lives in family groups that roost together at night.Sy Montgomery
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