Kingfisher (Alcedinidae)

Appearance
There are 12 species of Kingfisher found in Kenya.
Kingfishers vary in size from the African Pygmy Kingfisher, at 4.5" (11cm) to the Giant Kingfisher, at 17" (43cm). They all have stout bodies, with comparatively large heads and long bills that are often pointed. Their necks and tails are short. As are their weak legs, with small feet that have syndactyl toes (their front toes are joined for over a third of the length).

Habits
The majority of Kingfishers perch quietly, and dart down to catch their prey, mostly returning to the same perch. Many Kingfishers nest in banks of soft earth, tunneling inwards for up to a metre, then making a chamber. Between 2 - 6 eggs are laid, hatching after 3 weeks. The chicks emerge after a further 3 - 4 weeks. Like Bee-eaters, they do not clear out the nest and it is never used again. A few species nest in cavities of trees.

Diet
Some Kingfishers eat fish and frogs, from their aquatic environment. Others eat insects, lizards and other terrestrial prey, away from water.

Resident
Some Kingfishers live beside rivers and streams, while others live in open woodlands and savanna. Some Kingfishers migrate to other African countries. Kingfishers are seen in central and western Kenya. Some Kingfishers are seen in coastal regions.

Extra Kingfisher Facts
Kingfishers were revered by the ancient Greeks and feature in Greek mythology. Some Kingfishers Latin names begin with Halcyon, 'hals' meaning 'sea' and 'kyon' meaning 'conceiving' - the ancient Greeks believed Kingfishers nested on the sea.

Photographs
Photographed at Kenya's Masai Mara and Olare Orok Conservancy.

African Pygmy Kingfisher

African Pygmy Kingfisher

Grey-headed Kingfisher

Grey-headed Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher