name = Kingfishers

image_caption = Belted Kingfisher
("Ceryle alcyon")
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Coraciiformes
subordo = Alcedines
subdivision_ranks = Families
subdivision =



Kingfishers are small bright colored birds of the three families Alcedinidae (river kingfishers), Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers), and Cerylidae (water kingfishers). There are about 90 species of kingfisher. All have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. They are found throughout the world.


The etymology of "kingfisher" is obscure; the term comes from "king's fisher", but why that name was applied is not known [cite web
title = Online Etymology Dictionary
url =
author = Douglas Harper
year = 2001
accessdate = 2007-07-14
] .

The taxonomy of the three families is complex and rather controversial. Although commonly assigned to the order Coraciiformes, from this level down confusion sets in.

The kingfishers were traditionally treated as one family, Alcedinidae with three subfamilies, but following the 1990s revolution in bird taxonomy, the three former subfamilies are now usually elevated to familial level. That move was supported by chromosome and DNA-DNA hybridisation studies, but challenged on the grounds that all three groups are monophyletic with respect to the other Coraciiformes. This leads to them being grouped as the suborder Alcedines.

The tree kingfishers have been previously given the familial name Dacelonidae but Halcyonidae has priority. This group derives from a very ancient divergence from the ancestral stock.Even tropical South America has only five species plus wintering Belted Kingfisher. In comparison, the tiny African country of The Gambia has eight resident species in its 120 by 20 mi. (192 by 32 km) area.

The six species occurring in the Americas are four closely related green kingfishers in the genus "Chloroceryle" and two large crested kingfishers in the genus "Megaceryle", suggestingFact|date=April 2008 that the sparse representation in the western hemisphere evolved from just one or two original colonising species.

The smallest species of kingfisher is the African Dwarf Kingfisher ("Ispidina lecontei"), which averages at 10.4 g and 10 cm (4 inches). The largest overall is the Giant Kingfisher ("Megaceryle maxima"), at an average of 355 g (13.5 oz) and 45 cm (18 inches). However, the familiar Australian kingfisher known as the Laughing Kookaburra ("Dacelo novaeguineae") may be the heaviest species, since large individuals exceeding 450 g (1 lb) are not rare.


Kingfishers live in both woodland and wetland habitats. Kingfishers that live near water hunt small fish by diving. They also eat crayfish, frogs, and insects. Wood kingfishers eat reptiles. Kingfishers of all three families beat their prey to death, either by whipping it against a tree or by dropping it on a stone.Fact|date=August 2008

They are able to see well both in air and under water while swimming. Their eyes also have evolved an egg-shaped lens able to focus in the two different environments.

The Old World tropics and Australasia are the core area for this group. Europe and North America north of Mexico are very poorly represented with only one common kingfisher (Common Kingfisher and Belted Kingfisher respectively), and a couple of uncommon or very local species each: (Ringed Kingfisher and Green Kingfisher in the southwest USA, Pied Kingfisher and White-breasted Kingfisher in SE Europe).

The Pacific Islands Conservation Research Association is involved with projects studying coral reef fish and endangered Micronesian Kingfishers (Todiramphus cinnamominus) in the Federated States of Micronesia. Additionally the Ornithological Society of Polynesia, studied critically endangered Niau Kingfishers (Todiramphus gambieri niauensis) in French Polynesia with PICRA support.

thumb|A_White-throated Kingfisher]

ee also

*Pacific Islands Conservation Research Association


External links

* ARKive - [ images and movies of the Kingfisher "(Alcedo atthis)"]
* [ Kingfisher videos] on the Internet Bird Collection
* [ Kingfisher photos from Turkey]
* [ A hunting European Kingfisher]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kingfisher — (engl.: Eisvogel) bezeichnet: Unternehmen Kingfisher plc, internationaler Einzelhandelskonzern, gegenwärtig auf Baumärkte spezialisiert die zum indischen United Breweries Limited Konzern (UBL) gehörende: Fluggesellschaft Kingfisher Airlines… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kingfisher — (англ. зимородок): Kingfisher (компания)  британская компания ретейлер. Kingfisher (торговая марка)  пивная торговая марка. См. также Kingfisher Airlines  индийская авиакомпания. Kingfisher Red  индийская лоукост… …   Википедия

  • Kingfisher — Kingfisher, OK U.S. city in Oklahoma Population (2000): 4380 Housing Units (2000): 1935 Land area (2000): 4.136420 sq. miles (10.713277 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 4.136420 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Kingfisher, OK — U.S. city in Oklahoma Population (2000): 4380 Housing Units (2000): 1935 Land area (2000): 4.136420 sq. miles (10.713277 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 4.136420 sq. miles (10.713277 sq. km) FIPS …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Kingfisher — King fish er (k[i^]ng f[i^]sh [ e]r), n. (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of birds constituting the family {Alcedinid[ae]}. Most of them feed upon fishes which they capture by diving and seizing them with the beak; others feed only upon… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • kingfisher — (n.) mid 15c., originally king s fisher, for obscure reasons; see KING (Cf. king) + FISHER (Cf. fisher) …   Etymology dictionary

  • kingfisher — ► NOUN ▪ a colourful bird with a large head and long sharp beak which dives to catch fish in streams, ponds, etc …   English terms dictionary

  • kingfisher — [kiŋ′fish΄ər] n. [ME kyngys fyschare, lit., king s fisher] any of a family (Alcedinidae) of coraciiform birds, usually having bright coloration, a large, crested head, a large, strong beak, and a short tail: most species dive for fish …   English World dictionary

  • Kingfisher — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « Kingfisher », sur le Wiktionnaire (dictionnaire universel) Kingfisher est le nom anglais du martin… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • kingfisher — /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… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”