(redirected from Kingfishers)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


common name for members of the family Alcedinidae, essentially tropical and subtropical land birds, related to the bee-eatersbee-eater,
any of the brightly colored, insect-eating birds of the family Meropidae. They range in length from 6 to 14 in. (15–36 cm). The plumage of many species is predominantly green but usually includes a variety of other bright colors.
..... Click the link for more information.
, rollersroller,
common name for brightly colored Old World birds noted for performing somersaults in flight. They include the rollers proper (subfamily Coraciinae) and ground rollers (subfamily Brachypteraciinae; sometimes considered a separate family, Brachypteraciidae) of the family
..... Click the link for more information.
, and todiestody
, common name for small (3–4 in./9–10 cm) West Indian birds of the family Todidae, comprising the single genus Todus. Bright green above with red throats, they are forest birds called robins by Jamaicans, although not related to the robin.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Kingfishers have chunky bodies, short necks and tails, large heads with erectile crests, and strong, long beaks. Most kingfishers are carnivorous. The family is divided into three subfamilies, the river, tree, and water kingfishers (which some authorities considered to be separate families); the American species being in the last.

The common eastern American belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon, perches above the banks of freshwater streams and dives for small fish, crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians, and aquatic insects, returning to its perch to eat. It is 12 to 14 in. (30–35 cm) long, blue-gray above and white beneath; the female has chestnut breast markings. The Texas kingfisher is green above, has no crest, and is smaller (8 in./20 cm). Of the forest kingfishers, the best known is the Australian kookaburrakookaburra
, common name for a squat, long-tailed Australian kingfisher, Dacelo novaeguineae. It is one of the largest birds of the family Alcedinidae (kingfisher family).
..... Click the link for more information.
, famous for its laughing cry and valued as a destroyer of harmful snakes and lizards.

River and water kingfishers nest in deep burrows dug out along streams. The burrows may extend up to 10 ft (300 cm) vertically, and from five to eight eggs are laid in the chamber rounded out at the end of the tunnel. Both male and female share the incubation duties. Many forest kingfishers nest in the same fashion as the river and water kingfishers, but some, e.g., the kookaburra, never go near the water and nest in trees.

Kingfishers are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Coraciiformes, family Alcedinidae.


(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for members of the avian family Alcedinidae; most are tropical Old World species characterized by short legs, long bills, bright plumage, and short wings.


any coraciiform bird of the family Alcedinidae, esp the Eurasian Alcedo atthis, which has a greenish-blue and orange plumage. Kingfishers have a large head, short tail, and long sharp bill and tend to live near open water and feed on fish
References in periodicals archive ?
We used a one-sample Proportions Test (Statistix[R] 8; Analytical Software, Tallahassee, FL, USA) to examine for a statistically significant pattern between sex and frequency of aerial ramming by Belted Kingfishers, with proportion not significantly different than 0.
We first observed nest site exploration behavior at the nest bank on 2 April (1100-1230 MST), when the kingfishers flew up to multiple locations along the bank, perching or hovering briefly (only a few sec) at most sites.
Both kingfishers took turns flying from perches near the stream, typically first to hovering positions at distances of 1-3 m from the bank face and 2-3 m from their perch, then flying rapidly at the bank (sometimes directly, sometimes at an upward angle of 20o) and ramming it once with the tip of the bill while remaining in flight before returning to the perch.
By late May the kingfishers were no longer evident anywhere along the nest bank.
We found reports of aerial ramming into banks, termitaria, or trees for 13 other species of kingfishers (Table 1).
Head of water policy at the RSPB and spokesman for the Our Rivers campaign, Rob Cunningham, said: "There is so much to see from a riverbank - and one of the most spectacular sights is the blue flash of a kingfisher diving from a branch into the water below.
I envy those who come into the office to boast of their most recent sighting of our kingfishers at Middleton Lakes.
A TINY kingfisher landed a catch of the day - six different types of fish in just two hours.
The kingfisher lives in the shadow of the giant Texaco oil refinery on the banks of Cleddau estuary in Pembrokeshire.
The kingfisher knows she is sitting on a stretch of water that can serve up the catch of the day.
Paul spends up to 30 hours a week in his hide on the bank of the river, just a few feet from the branches where the kingfisher perches with her dinner.
ONE of Birmingham's most fascinating areas of natural beauty, Project Kingfisher Environmental Park, is preparing to celebrate its 21st birthday.