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Kingfishers: Alcedinidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Most species are sedentary (tending not to move), and nearly all are diurnal (active during the day). Many of them bathe by diving repeatedly into water. The majority of species roost alone within vegetation. They all are highly vocal. Loud calls warn visitors that they have ventured into kingfisher territories, while softer calls are communications between mates or with offspring.

To attract females, male kingfishers perform courtship rituals such as aerial displays, plumage, feather, exposure, and feeding of females. Both sexes play roles in selecting and digging nest sites, usually in earthen banks, but also in rotten wood, termite nests, or tree hollows. They dig by flying into the surface bill-first, then loosening debris with the bill, and later by kicking out loosened materials with feet. A tunnel is built that can extend from 3 to 26 feet (1 to 8 meters), ending in an unlined nest cavity.

The white, round, shiny eggs are laid one a day with two to seven eggs in a clutch. Both sexes take part in incubation and care of young. Females remain on the nest overnight. Incubation takes from two to four weeks, and the nestling period is from three to eight weeks. Babies are born blind and naked. Feathers emerge with quills (hollow feather shafts). They become independent a few days to about a week after learning to fly, and become sexually mature within a year.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsKingfishers: Alcedinidae - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Behavior And Reproduction, Laughing Kookaburra (dacelo Novaeguineae): Species Accounts - HABITAT, DIET, KINGFISHERS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS