Kinghshers are brightly colored birds belonging to the Alcedinidae family. There are 15 different types or wide, 11 of which live in China. The kingfisher is one of the most widespread, though it is one of the smaller species in Alcedinidae. Every yell, kingfisher survive at the Beijing Zoo to breed, where I can observe and record the entire process of kingfisher reproduction.
The Appearance of the Kingfisher the length of the common kingfisher is about 15cm and they have short taus and legs with large heads and long bios. In fact, the total length of the bird and head is fairly close to the measurement of the body length. Plumage is typically blue and orange with blue-green dorsal feathers. Bright orange plumes cover the abdomen and extend under the wings. Common kingfisher coverts, feathers covering the base of the tail or tail-feathers, are smaller and frequently sport sky blue spots on both sides of the head and wings. Aught blue stripe curves down the birds body from the neck, between the wings, and all the way to the up of the tail.
The female is identical in appearance to the male except that her lower mandible is orange-red with a black Up, while males usually have solid black.
Kingfishers are known to preen and maintain their beautiful plumage. Prior to any activity such as foraging, nesting, or caring for young,the birds repeatedly dive into water. After getting sufficiency wet, they fly back to a branch to preen whirring wings. The location and frequency of this behavior, often quite a performance,provides perfect and recurring opportunities for photographers to capture exceed shots of kingfishers in their natural environment.
Flight and Catching Prey
Sometimes referred to as “blue lightning”,the kingfisher rapidly flies like a blue hash close to the surface of the water while hunting.Based on video data, researchers estimate the birds reach speeds up to 36km/h. When the kingfisher breaks the surface of the water prey in sight, its wings are folded and close to the chest. With head and neck straight and the body rigid, it looks like a bullet piercing the water. It only takes 2 seconds to dive into water from a perch on a tree approximately 1.5m high.
A photographer caught a dramatic mid-dive picture and the bird looks like a blue ribbon suspended vertically in the water.Then catching prey the kingfisher stands in tree branches or on rocks I.5-2m above the surface of the water and stares intently into the depths. With rapt attention the bird spots a fish and swoops down quickly returning to the shortly thereafter. After sifting through hundreds of kingfisher hunting photos, researchers found that the birds catch fish by the tall Ans dose to 100 percent of the time. After successfully catching a fish, the kingfisher Hips the fish until it is parallel to its bill, headfirst, before showing.
If the catch is larger side, the kingfisher will dash it against a branch or rock to subdue it. Because the kingfisher consumes the entire ash, indigestible fishbone and scales are mixed together through powerful peristalsis of the stomach until regurgitated. Though difficult to observe this process with the naked eye, thanks to high-speed continuous shooting technology this unique ruminant behavior can be recorded.
Kingfisher’s reproduction and propagation can be divided into three phases: pairing, nesting and brooding.
Every year at the end of March, kingfishers return to the breeding grounds where they themselves were hatched, habituate themselves with the surroundings for several weeks, and then immediately begin courtship. During the courtship process, males and females are highly active and chase after each other. In order to win the female’s affections, males assiduously and painstakingly catch fish and shrimp as offerings for the females. After about two weeks, the females decide on a mate based on the quality and quantity of the food gifts. During courtship
and nesting] males fight for the pairing rights.
According to observations made at the Beijing Zoo, kingfishers were usually found nesting beside quiet rivers and lakes. Peaceful water and steep banks covered in dense trees seem to attract them. Every year in late March kingfishers appear at two breeding sites at the Beijing Zoo, the river running through the middle of the park, and the lake on the west side.
After investigating for several weeks, the birds begin nesting. Kingfishers prefer to settle along steep riverbanks as this protects the nest from rain and predators. Both male and female kingfishers contribute to nest construction. Utilizing their long bills, they begin by digging holes in the earth. At first they must hover in the air to get the holes started, which is a difficult endeavor. During nesting,other kingfishers may attempt to invade, so it is up to the mating pair to build a defensible nest.
The nest’s diameter is a little bigger than the bird’s body and the depth is approximately 60 to 90cm. The entrance is slightly wider and at the end it opens into an arched grotto, approximately 9cm in height. The door of the grotto Sits lower from the entrance, preventing the eggs and young from out. There is no cover or camouflage over the opening in the ground. So is the”Evaluation Important factor for the nest, sandy sod being easy to dig and day soil providing strength . The kingfisher nest Sites at the Beijing Zoo are mainly situated in sandy sod, but the extent the tree roots along the banks make up for the shortcomings of sandy sod collapse.
By May kingfishers begin to lay eggs, usually 3 to 7 eggs per clutch. Its smooth and weighing about 4g, the eggs are laid directly on the ground of the grotto. Kingfisher males and females take turns tending to the eggs over a 3-week incubation period. When young birds hatch they are featherless with bright pink skin closed eyes, and unable to stand on their spindly legs. Under the care of doting parents, the offspring brood for about three weeks until more hilly developed. In the meantime, the parents are hard at work catching fish to feed their hungry hatchlings.
It is speculated that each nestling eats five fish on average every day so with an average brood of6 young, a kingfisher parent must catch a minimum of30 fish daily The parent returns to the nest after catching a fish and feeds the nestling standing in the opening to the nest. Immediately that one will be replaced by other angling for food. In this way one by one, each young bird can be fed. Nestlings grow quickly and aher3 weeks, they are hilly-hedged. They will have increased in weight over six times from the 3g they weighed when hatched. Wen the mature nestling caved fledgling, leaves the nest, its shape is similar to an adult, but the color of plumage is dimmer, with dark brown feathers under the abdomen and black legs.
The young leave the nest in the morning, flying out successively from the safety of cover. They land somewhat aimlessly randomly in nearby bushes. The parent kingfishers chirp and sing encouragingly and the young birds test out their survival skills with support and supervision. Because they have not yet 6ne-tuned their flying capabilities and are still new to the wider world] the fledglings only succeed in short flights near the nest and rely on their parents For food fora week. During this time, the young birds will attempt to plunge into the water to catch fish again and again, but normally do not have much success. As their strength and fishing skills improve, the young kingfishers expand their flight ranges and at last began to live independently.