Kingfisher Facts



  • The common kingfisher nests at the end of a 60-cm long tunnel that it excavates in a riverbank. The female lays 4-8 eggs.
  • The tiny African pygmy kingfisher dives not into water, like the common kingfisher, but into grass, where it snatches grasshoppers and beetles.
  • The 86 or so species of kingfisher are found all over the world, except parts of the far north.
  • The giant kingfisher of Africa and the Australian laughing kookaburra are the largest of the family, at about 45 cm long.
  • Common kingfishers incubate their eggs for 19-21 days, and feed the young for up to 4 weeks.
  • The shovel-billed kingfisher is armed with its own spade for digging in mud – it uses its large, heavy bill to dig up worms, shellfish and small reptiles.
  • A flash of iridescent turquoise feathers streaking at high speed along a quiet riverbank indicates the presence of a common or European kingfisher.
  • In the forests of New Guinea, the male paradise kingfisher shows off its very long tail feathers to females as part of its courtship display.
  • The laughing kookaburra is named for its call, which sounds like noisy laughter. It makes its call to claim territory. Once one starts, others tend to join in!
  • In northern Australia, termite mounds are adopted as nest sites by the buff breasted kingfisher.