A forest kingfisher takes food to its nest. Photo: Contributed
A forest kingfisher takes food to its nest. Photo: Contributed

The incredible nesting habits of the forest kingfisher

The forest kingfisher can be seen along creeks in suburban areas and often only as a blue blur as it flies past.

The kingfisher family in Australia has ten species that includes the laughing kookaburra.

It has a dark royal blue head with pale turquoise on the back.

There is a large white spot in front of each eye. The underparts are white.

The male has a white collar around the neck which the female lacks.

The tail is royal blue above and below is black to dusky grey.

The long, straight bill is black on the top and pale white under. Juveniles have a buff wash on the breast.

Often confused with the sacred kingfisher which has a buff spot in front of the eyes rather than a white one.

They feed on beetles, bugs, spiders and grasshoppers. It also will eat insect larvae, small lizards, frogs and worms.

They hunt from a low branch and after catching their prey they will bash it against a branch until it is dead.

They mostly nest in termite mounds high in a tree and they fly straight at the termite mound from several metres away with their bills pointed forward like a bullet, chipping away some of the 'cement' with each impact.

They fly with such force into the termite nest that deaths from a broken neck have sometimes been seen.

When finished they have a nest chamber that protects the young from the hot sun and rain as well as from predators.

Both sexes incubate and feed the young often helped by immature offspring from previous seasons.

They are very territorial and will defend their nest and feeding area from other kingfishers.

Good places to see the Forest Kingfisher are the Botanic Gardens, Baldwin Swamp Enviro Park and Barolin Nature Reserve.

Allan Briggs is the secretary of BirdLife Capricornia, contact him with your bird questions at abriggs@irock.com.au



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