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a family of birds of the order Coraciiformes. The body is from 16 to 47 cm long. It has a large head, a long, straight beak, and short legs. The coloration consists of various combinations of white, gray, black, rust, and blue; the beak is black or red. The 88 species are distributed widely, but are found primarily in tropical regions. The common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) nests in the USSR; it is possible that the great pied kingfisher (Ceryle lugubris) nests in the southern Kuril Islands. Three species migrate to the Primor’e and Transcaucasian regions. The birds live along the banks of rivers and lakes; there are also forest and semidesert species. The kingfisher feeds on small fish and aquatic insects; the tropical species also eat rodents and reptiles. They nest in burrows or tree hollows. The common kingfisher nests in a burrow along river banks, its clutch containing six to nine eggs. Some kingfishers winter on rivers that do not freeze over.