Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

About

A famously colourful bird of rivers and streams, the kingfisher can be spotted sitting quietly on low-hanging branches over the water, suddenly diving in to catch a small fish. Kingfishers breed near lowland watercourses and lakes which have suitable banks for burrowing nests and shallow edges for feeding. They occasionally visit gardens.

How to identify

The striking mix of its bright-blue back and metallic copper breast make the kingfisher unmistakable. Male kingfishers have an entirely black bill, females have an orangey-red patch at the base.

Where to find it

Widespread, absent from northern Scotland.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Novermber
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Kingfishers are vulnerable to harsh winters and habitat degradation such as pollution and the unsympathetic management of riverbanks. The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Kingfisher
Latin name
Alcedo atthis
Category
Birds
Woodpeckers, cuckoo and kingfisher
Statistics
Length: 15-17cm Wingspan: 40cm Weight: 25g Average Lifespan: 2 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.