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The kingfisher

Eisvogel auf einem Ast Foto: Dietmar Nill

The colourful kingfisher lives near natural rivers and streams. He breeds in tunnels, which he digs deep into waterside bluffs. These bluffs, however, have become rare in Germany.

Detail: Riparian forest in Thuringia

Bluffs for breeding The kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is the only one of its kind (Alcedinidae) occuring in Central Europe – his fellow kingfishers are mostly tropical in distribution. However, the bird is now classified as „decimated“ in Germany, where the kingfisher's population was estimated at 5.600-8.000 breeding pairs in 2009. Kingfishers live near natural rivers and streams with lots of riverine vegetation. The continuance of the species depends strongly on fish populations, water quality as well as potential breeding spots – tunnels, which they dig deep into waterside bluffs. These bluffs have become rare in Germany, but the riparian forest near the Beuren monastery offers one of these last unspoilt kingfisher habitats. Fast diver The kingfisher tends to catch its prey, mainly consisting of small fish, crayfish and insects, from branches hanging low over the water surface. Once the kingfisher spots prey below him, he dives headfirst into the water, snatching his prize with his strong beak. For the fish, the kingfisher's reddish-brown underside is impossible to differentiate from wood. From behind, his bluish-green feathers blur with the water. Join us and help us to buy more land for nature! Save land now!More about the riparian forest

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