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Kingfishers
Kookaburras
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They are famous for their plunging dives when fishing/hunting for food.

Over 80 species of kingfishers can be found worldwide on every continent except that of Antarctica,

AUSTRALIAN KINGFISHERS
In Australia we have basically 10 species of Kingfisher,
which can be divided into 3 groups

Forest Kingfishers
Sacred Kingfisher Collard Kingfisher Forest Kingfisher Buff Breasted Paradise Kingfisher Red Backed Kingfisher Yellow Billed Kingfisher

River Kingfishers Kookaburras
Azure Kingfisher Little Kingfisher Laughing Kookaburra Blue Winged Kookaburra

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Sacred Kingfisher
click for info on pic Description :
This Kingfisher is a small brightly coloured bird, with blue or Green wings, tail, and head stripe though the female is slightly duller than the male. Lot like a smaller version Kookaburra. It is call is well known and has been described as a "staccato kee-kee-kee

click for info on pic Location & Habitat :
Sacred Kingfishers are found through most of Australia (except in the arid central deserts) and can be found in in forests, mangroves and in trees along river courses. Their nest is a burrow either into a sandy bank or termite mound

Feeding :
They are as all kingfishers a predatory bird, feeding usually on small reptiles and insects (grasshoppers, beetles) fish and crustaceans.

Behavior :
They are a watchful birds but perch high up in trees rather than the usual low branches over rivers which is common for most kingfishers
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Collard Kingfisher
click for info on pic Description :
The Collared Kingfisher is like the Sacred Kingfisher but is darker,larger and has a more solid bill

Location & Habitat :
Northern and northeastern Australia just along the coastline. It loves to live in mangroves and is sometimes referred to as a "Mangrove Kingfisher"

Feeding :
The Collared Kingfisher feeds mainly on insects, small reptiles, small fish and crustaceans.
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Forest Kingfisher
www.peterlik.com Description :
Looks like the Sacred Kingfisher, except it has a white "flash" on its wing and a brighter underbelly Its tail is a strong blue, as is its head which has a wide black stripe from its bill to its ear

Location & Habitat :
Found in forests boarding the coast, rivers, mangroves etc in North Eastern Australia, but its range goes further inland than the Collared Kingfisher

Feeding :
feeds mainly on insects and small reptiles, captured by pouncing from a low perch
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click for info on pic Buff Breasted (Paradise) Kingfisher
Description :
Very colourful with a magnificent long tail. its length can be up to 36 cm which includes its tail (up to 1/2 its total length)

Location & Habitat :
Found in the "Top Tip" of Australia (Cape York) only during breeding season (Spring) where it is found in rainforests, before returning to New Guinea

Behavior :
Rather quiet Kingfisher except in breeding season It also nests in termite mounds often tunneling for a couple of weeks to make the nest
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Red Backed Kingfisher
click for info on pic Description :
The red backed kingfishers most noticeable physical characteristics are its rufous red patch on its lower back and rump, as well as a black stripe running through its eyes to the back of its head

Location & Habitat :
The red backed kingfisher has adapted to the harsher climate of Australia's interior deserts, and thus is found over most of Australia except in areas of high rainfall (Coastal areas Southwest, Southeast, East and Northeast)
It survives in eucalypt woodlands, scrub and tussock grasslands, and areas with scattered trees

Feeding :
Like other forest kingfishers it feeds on insects and small reptiles that it hunts on the ground.
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Yellow Billed Kingfisher
Yellow Billed Kingfisher Description :
Apart from its distinguishing yellow bill, the yellow billed kingfisher can be recognised by a black ring around eye, and its overall orange body and green wings The male Yellow billed kingfishers head is entirely orange, whilst the females has a black cap.

Habitat :
In Australia it only found in the northern part of Cape York (Australia's "top tip")in rainforest and mangrove areas

Feeding :
solitary and unobtrusive inhabitant of the , They feed mainly on insects and small reptiles

Behavior :
These birds are very unobtrusive and live in the lower levels of hard to access rainforests and mangroves where they find their food supply
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Azure Kingfisher
click for info on pic Description :
There upper parts are a bright blue (hence their name) They also have a long bill, "orangish" belly and bright orange legs They measure roughly 18 cm and have a high-pitched whistle

Location & Habitat :
click for info on pic The Azure Kingfisher is found following Australia's coastline from the top of the Northern Territory all the way down the East coast to and including Tasmanian
The Azure Kingfisher frequents rivers and streams, bilabongs, lagoons etc with overhanging low branches

Feeding :
In typical kingfisher fashion the Azure scans the water from a low perch and dives quickly, causes a splash and then darts back to its perch The prey will be turned around in its long beak and swallowed head first. They prefer small crustaceans such as crabs and yabbies.
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Little Kingfisher
click for info on pic Description :
A Long black bill with a white spot between the bill and the eye Another white spot on the side of the neck. Upperparts are blue, underparts white. The little kingfishers size is roughly 12 cm

Location & Habitat :
In Australia the little kingfisher is only found in coastal areas in the far north They frequent rainforest pools, mangroves, creeks etc

Feeding :
its behavour and feeding patterns resembles that of the Azure kingfisher ie it darts from low branches and eats insects, small fish and crustations
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click for info on pic Laughing Kookaburra
Click here to see some more pics of Laughing Kookaburras
Description
The kookaburra is the largest kingfisher. The laughing kookaburra has a short thick body with a very large head with a dark eye streak. Their colourings are mainly brown with black markings on top with a creamy whit underbelly and head, and "mottled" blue patch on their wings. They are famous for their laughing calls which usually occur at dawn and dusk and is in fact the kookaburra "marking out" its territory

click to see more photos from OzPhoto Habitat
They are found through out eastern Australia from the northern tip of Queensland right down to Tasmania. They have also been introduced to the southern part of Western Australia They frequent open forests and Eucalypt bushland

Feeding
Like most kingfishers the Laughing kookaburra launches itself from a perch to pounce on its prey They enjoy eating most ground-living insects, as well as mice, lizards and snakes.

Behavior
The Laughing Kookaburras form community groups which together share and defend their home territory. As already mentioned they mark this territory with their calls, but also will physically defend it from other bird species These community groups have a dominate matting pair and other lesser members Laughing kookaburras do not build nests, instead they use existing cavities in trees or again sometimes a tree-termite mound.

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click for info on pic Blue Winged Kookaburra
Description
Much like the Laughing Kookaburra, the blue winged kookaburra differs in its bigger brighter metallic blue wing markings and its call is a lot higher pitched "trill" It does not have a dark streak through its eye
Habitat
Found in the wetter region of coastal Northern Australia they still live in open forests and woodlands but may also be found on the edge of some swamps (eg. Paperbark)

Feeding
Like the Laughing Kookaburra they dive onto ground dwelling lizards and insects, snakes and small mammals. return to Index
LINKS Kinfisher + Kookaburra Sound Files
Fact sheets on Australian Birds (Australian Museum Online)


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