Kingfisher Facts: Learn More About These Water Diving Birds


If you’ve been living under a rock, kingfishers are small birds that live near water and have a distinctive bill. They typically nest in hollow trees or reeds along the riverbank. In this article, we take a closer look at kingfishers to uncover some of their most interesting facts.

1. Kingfishers are the best fishermen in all of bird-kind

A close up of a bird

Kingfishers are king fishers because theyʼre amazing at catching fish, which is their main food source. The kingfisher’s eyesight is up to 10 times better than ours under water, which helps them spot prey easily. Their beaks are long, sharp and pointy to help them catch smaller prey. If kingfishers can’t find enough food near their nests, they go foraging and fly up to 5 kilometers (3 miles) away in search of food!

2. Kingfisher nests are like a hidden door

A bird sitting on a branch

Kingfisher nests arenʼt made out of twigs but are carefully designed. Kingfishers fashion their nests out of reeds, sticks and other materials they find nearby riverbanks. The kingfisher nest is built for hiding – itʼs hidden deep inside a tree or in thick foliage by the side of the riverbank to deter predators.

3. Kingfishers have an incredible sense of direction

Kingfishers always return to their nests and raise their babies in the same tree where they were born. How do kingfishers find their way back home every time? Much like homing pigeons, kingfishers use a magnetic compass to navigate North and South. They also have an uncanny ability to adapt to changing conditions.

4. Kingfishers are fine-tuned for hunting

Kingfishers have specialized bills that allow them to see, hear and hunt underwater. Their eyes can see under water and also above ground because kingfishers have a second eyelid called a nictitating membrane that protects their eyes while theyʼre catching fish. They use their bills to make a quick strike on prey and stun them long enough for kingfishers to swallow.

5. Kingfisher babies are super-sensitive

Kingfisher mothers lay 3 – 4 eggs at once but only one kingfisher chick survives. The kingfisher who lives is the biggest, strongest and most aggressive baby that pecks his or her siblings to death! This may sound cruel but kingfisher babies would die of starvation without a kingfisher chick to survive.

6. Kingfishers are solitary birds

Kingfishers donʼt flock together with other kingfishers as one might expect – theyʼre solitary birds and only come together for mating and raising their babies. A kingfisherʼs territory is typically one mile away from the nearest kingfisher nest, which makes them more vulnerable to predators as they travel back and forth between nests.

Do you know any kingfisher facts we missed? Share them in the comments below!

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