Kingfisher Alcedo atthis   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Coraciiformes Family: Alcedinidae
BTO Codes: KF, KINGF EURING No: 8310
Number in Britain: 4900 Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
UK: AMBER
European: 3 Concern, most not in Europe; Depleted
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder
Subspecies: ispida recorded in Britain (of 7 subsp. in the world)
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Length: 16 cm Wingspan: 25 cm Weight: M/F: 40 g    
Scientific name from: L.: alcedo=kingfisher (from Gr. alkuon) and after Atthis, a beautiful young woman of Lesbos, and favourite of Sappho
World Distribution: Europe, c&s Asia
Habitat: Rivers, marshes, lakes, seacoasts
Diet: Mostly freshwater fish, also aquatic invertebrates, hunts from perch or by hovering prior to dive
TitBit: The hungry brood of a Kingfisher can demand over 100 fish a day from their parents, which they dive for at the surprisingly low speed of about 10mph.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 4900 Pairs in 2009
    First Record: Recorded in Anglo-Saxon times [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Species of European Concern,
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: ispida AMBER (European Concern)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Along Rivers
    And found in: Ponds
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
European Population Size:
    Summer: 67 to 135 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), WBD(I), Bern(III)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 22 x 19 mm Egg Weight: 4.3 g (of which 5 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 15   (more would be welcome!)
Clutch Size: 5 - 7 eggs 5.51 ± 1.43 (2 - 7) N = 41
Incubation: 20- 21 days 19.96 ± 0.86 (19.5 - 21.5) N = 41   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 23 - 26days 24.84 ± 1.95 (22 - 27.5) N = 210 as: Altricial, naked
Source:
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 25 Apr (1 Apr - 20 Jul)
Number of Broods: 1-2(3)
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.280    (Sexes similar)    
Juvenile Survival: 0.215 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 2 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 4 years 6 months 13 days (set in 1969)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries

Biometrics

Ring Size: SO
Wing Length Adult: 78.8 ± 1.8 Range 76 - 82 mm, N =607
Juvenile: 78.8 ± 1.7 76 - 82 mm, N =2526
Male: 78.6 ± 1.8 76 - 81 mm, N =333
Female: 79.2 ± 1.7 76 - 82 mm, N =230
Weight Adult: 39.08 ± 3.45 Range 34.50 - 45.50 g , N =554
Juvenile: 36.30 ± 2.67 32.60 - 41.00 g , N =2282
Male: 38.12 ± 3.00 33.90 - 44.00 g , N =307
Female: 40.43 ± 3.64 35.40 - 46.60 g , N =209
Source:
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Common Kingfisher
Gaelic: Biorra-crùidein Welsh: Glas y Dorlan
Danish: Isfugl Dutch: IJsvogel
Finnish: Kuningaskalastaja French: Martin-pêcheur d´Europe
German: Eisvogel Hungarian: Jégmadár
Icelandic: Bláþyrill Irish: Cruidín
Italian: Martin pescatore Norwegian: Isfugl
Polish: Zimorodek zwyczajny Portuguese: Guarda-rios-comum
Spanish: Martín pescador Swedish: Kungsfiskare
Local Names: Halcyon

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Eastman, R. 1969 The Kingfisher Collins, London [598.761 EAS]
   Boag, D. 1982 The Kingfisher Blandford Press, Poole, Dorset [598.761 BOA]
   Chandler, D. & Llewellyn, I. 2010 Kingfsher New Holland Publishers, London
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides