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Kingfishers: Alcedinidae

Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Behavior And Reproduction, Laughing Kookaburra (dacelo Novaeguineae): Species AccountsHABITAT, DIET, KINGFISHERS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
RUFOUS-COLLARED KINGFISHER (Actenoides concretus): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Kingfishers are found throughout aquatic or wooded habitats, avoiding open country. They range from arid savannas to dense rainforests, and from low seacoasts to high mountains. Species that feed on aquatic animals are found from arid (dry, little rainfall) seashores to small mountain streams. Species that feed on land animals are found from arid savannas to dense rainforests.


Most kingfishers consume relatively large invertebrates, especially grasshoppers, earthworms, and crustaceans, as well as small vertebrates, especially reptiles, fishes, and amphibians. A few species eat fruit. They spend much time perched in a stationary position on the lookout for prey, animals they hunt for food, swooping down to grab prey from the ground, water, air, or leaves.


Some people hunt kingfishers when the birds eat fish commercially raised on farms. In the past, some kingfishers were stuffed for the beauty of their plumes and feathers, and other feathers were worn as hair decorations. Often the call of kingfishers was seen as an omen. The laughing kookaburra is an important symbol of Australia.


The main threats to kingfishers are the clearing, draining, or polluting of rainforest habitats. Twelve species are considered threatened by extinction, dying out, and at least two subspecies have become extinct. Threatened species are found in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, including New Zealand and Australia.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirds