Kingfishers: Nature’s Tiny & Colorful Hunters (8K)

Kingfishers or Alcedinidae are a family of small to medium-sized, brightly colored birds in the order Coraciiformes. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Oceania but also can be seen in Europe.

Kingfishers are known for their stocky body, long, thick bill and striking colors and markings. Many kingfishers are decked out in feathers of bright blue, green, turquoise, red, or gold. Some have splotches, dashes, stripes, or speckles. The dagger-shaped bill often seems too long or too big for the rest of the bird, but it is well designed for capturing food. Most kingfishers have short legs and strong feet, since they spend most of their time perched on a stalk, twig, or branch while keeping an eye out for a meal. Even though they are chunky birds, kingfishers are fast flyers. Some, like pied kingfishers, can even flap their wings fast enough to hover over water.

Kingfishers like to keep clean and bathe by diving into water and then perching in the sun to dry and preen their feathers. Some use their wings to scrub and scratch the top of their head. They also keep that impressive bill clean by scraping it against a branch until they are satisfied that the bill is in good condition.

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