Thursday, April 12, 2012

A to Z Challenge - K is for Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher
Following my nature theme, today I thought I would write about a bird that has always fascinated me, even though I have never seen one in real life.

I've always thought that kingfisher was an unusual name for a bird and I wondered why they were called that. Perhaps because they eat a lot of fish? Although they do eat other things, like lizards.

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher
One won't find kingfishers in North America. Some species are tropical, with most of the others living in Europe and Australia. Some of the birds are known as river kingfishers, some as tree kingfishers and some as water kingfishers. They are small to medium sized brightly colored birds, and all have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. Most species have bright plumage with little differences between the sexes. Like some other birds, they nest in cavities, usually tunnels dug into the natural or artificial banks in the ground.

Kingfishers are generally shy birds, staying away from people, but people have always been fascinated by the little birds, possibly because of the bright coloring and some of their behaviors. 

For the Dusun people of Borneo, the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is considered a bad omen, and warriors that see one on the way to battle should return home. Another Bornean tribe consider the Banded Kingfisher bird of good omens. 

The Sacred Kingfisher, along with other Pacific kingfishers, was venerated by the Polynesians, who believed it had control over the seas and waves.

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7 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

They are such pretty birds!

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by L.Diane. I agree, these are very pretty birds.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Those are beautiful birds, but their pictures just didn't mesh with the image of kingfishers that was flying around in my head. So, I had to look it up. Turns out, the bird I was thinking about is actually called a belted kingfisher, and it's larger, with tufted feathers on its head. So, thanks for stirring up the ol' gray matter a bit. Always happy to learn something new.

Maryann Miller said...

Susan, I did not see a picture of the belted kingfisher when I was doing the research for this. Will have to look it up. Thanks for stopping by.

Stephen Tremp said...

My wife and I both love birds. We've owned two parrots and now have a very noisy canary.

Pammy pam said...

I dont like birds at all. thanks to alfred hitchcock. i DO, however, love Texas: i've lived in Sanantone, Houston, and Austin.

howdy!

Kathy said...

I've heard the name Kingfisher so often, I figured I might see one in our yard someday. We live in Eastern Canada. I didn't realize they weren't found in North America. Guess I'll have to travel to see one.
Thanks for the Great post.
Kathy at Oak Lawn Images