Common kingfisher

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2022-06-21

A common kingfisher is resting on a branch in Honghu Park, Luohu District. 

One of the most captivating and stunning animals you can easily spot in almost every park of Shenzhen is the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), a bird species you can smoothly recognize for its visible iridescent blue plumage that almost entirely covers the back of its body, leaving enough space for a lovely underbelly covered in orange and with some white linings on the side of its neck and throat. Their feet are small and red and their beaks are long, strong and sharp in order to get a better grip while catching their prey. Males and females are very similar and the most notable difference rests on the color of their beaks; while the male’s beak is entirely black, the female’s lower part is light brown. 


Common kingfishers are relatively small birds with an average length of 17 cm and an average wingspan of 24 cm. One interesting fact about them is that during the mating season, a male will find a female and then both will take care of the offspring. A pair may raise up to 10 clutchesat once (though very rarely) and they breed around three times a year. 


One of the most fascinating characteristics of this species is the fact that they always eat the fish starting with the head.Even when feeding their young offspring, they will catch small fish and grab them by the tail so the babies can eat the fish head first. 


A common kingfisher is resting on a branch in Honghu Park, Luohu District. 

Finding kingfishers in almost every park of the city is good news for all of us, an encouraging sign that the water bodies across Shenzhen are in a healthy condition with enough freshwater organisms to satisfy the demanding appetite of these little birds.