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Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

Cruidín

Status: Resident on Irish streams, rivers and canals.

Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland. BirdLife International has evaluated the European population as depleted, due to a moderate historical decline.

Identification: Very distinctive when seen well with its brightly coloured plumage. The underparts are a bright orange-red, while the wings and back of the head are dark blue. The back, rump and tail are a bright, almost "electric" blue and usually draw attention to a flying bird. Despite these bright colours, can be easily overlooked perched motionless on a branch beside a stream or river on the look-out for fish. During the breeding season, females have a small red patch at the base of the bill, which is not shown by adult males.

Similar Species: None in Ireland

Call: A shill whistled “chee-kee”, frequently repeated. It is usually one first signs that a Kingfisher is present along a stream or river.

Diet: Various species of small fish (Stickleback, Minnow, and Chub) and larger aquatic insects caught by plunge-diving from a perch or while hovering.

Breeding: Kingfishers breed in tunnels dug in vertical banks along streams and rivers.

Wintering: A very sedentary species, Kingfishers rarely move from their territories. However, some may move to lakes and coasts during extended spells of poor weather.

Where to See: Widespread in Ireland. Booterstown Marsh in County Dublin is a reliable site to see this species.

Monitored by: Waterways Bird Survey.

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