Amazing Facts of Kingfisher SpeciesUganda Birding Safaris

Amazing Facts of Kingfisher Species : First of all, Uganda is one of the top stopping destination for birding on African safaris with a total of 1090 bird species which can be spotted in different birding sites. Being among the top birding destination in the world and one of the great location to see the unique families of kingfisher species which are listed on world’s ornithology, as the studies   shows that they contain over 114 species and have been classified into three subfamilies and about 19 genera. Therefore, the three subfamilies include Alcedinanae, Halcyniniae and Cerylinae and these three families each related differently;

Alcedinanae hspecies; These are pygmy or river kingfishers which are watery species which includes marmots, bee-eaters, toddies, rollers and ground-rollers, belted kingfisher, green kingfisher and ringed kingfisher among others. The name Acedia was introduced by the French polymath Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815.

Habits; They are found in woodland, savanna and coastal forest.

Lifecycle; They can live over 15 years in the wild like other bird species.

Halcynininae species; These are tree or woodland kingfisher; despite are not specialist fish eaters. Some of species are tree kingfisher many more. However, the name halcyniniae was introduced by Nicholas Awkward Vigar in 1825 as the historical record shows.

Their migration; The woodland kingfisher start migrating from Central Africa in September down into southern Africa and when they arrive tend to make calls, Such as Yellow billed kite and Wahlberg eagle among others.

Their sounds: They have a loud call which is characterized like a high pitched ‘’tuuui’’ followed by a pause’’ and then a trilling.

Feeding habitant; They mainly feed on insects, small vertebrates like fish, snakes and small birds .

Amazing Facts of Kingfisher Species
Amazing Facts of Kingfisher Species

Cerylinae Species ;These are water kingfishers  being one of the three subfamilies of the kingfishers  ,note few  water species are found in the America. Some species include Ringed kingfisher, green kingfisher among others.

These are commonly seen in North America   that usually migrate as far south as Central America, West indies and the usually migrate following river, lake shores and coastlines.

Some of the list of Kingfisher species include; Giant kingfisher are good in breaking spine of the tilapia fish, Oriental dwarf kingfisher known as warrior, Yellow-billed kingfisher  , Paradise kingfishers Pied kingfisher good in killing a fish ,Pellet of a common kingfisher ,Common Kingfisher hovering  ,Shove billed Kookaburra ,red backed kingfisher , White-throated kingfisher ,green kingfisher ,belted kingfisher, among others species.

What is a Kingfisher bird?

To bird lovers, this could be their first asked question wondering about this type of bird species ‘’the kingfisher’ are’. Of all, kingfisher is referred as Alcedinidae a family of small to medium sized, brightly colored bird species in order to Coraciiform. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, common species which are inhabitant of tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Please note; Currently the study shows how the Kingfisher subfamily splintered from one of large family ‘’Halcyoninae’’ diversifying into the old world. And the word Kingfisher normally refers to the common kingfishers.

The study shows that most of Kingfisher species are found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Oceania as well as in Europe and Uganda is one of the few countries to see all three subfamilies. More so, they can also be seen in deep forests near calm ponds and small rivers and the family has a record of 114 species which are divided into three subfamilies and 19 generals.

More facts that, all kingfishers have large heads, long, sharp, short legs, pointed bills, pointed bills and stubby tails and bright plumage with only small difference between the sexes.

They are tropical species   and many of them are inhabitant of the forest.

They have amazing behaviors in their different ways of life including mating, courtship and feeding.

Some of these species consume a wide range of prey which usually seen by swooping down from a perch.

They are usually thought to live near rivers and eat fish and variety of species live away from water and feed on small invertebrates. To some species of kingfishers like nesting in arboreal termite nests.

Few of these species are being threatened with extinction.

Breeding –Classification of Kingfisher Family;

 They are the smallest species of kingfisher like the African dwarf kingfisher which measures 10 centimeters in length and between 9 and 12 grams and o.42 in weight.

The largest in Africa is named the giant kingfisher which is 42 to 46 centimeter in length and with a weight ranging between 255 to 426 grams. The heaviest species is a female species that ranges nearly 500 grams in weight.

Most of the kingfishers look bright with green and blue being the most common colors.

 The kingfishers also have long, dagger like bills that helps them in hunting fish and prey off the ground. Though the largest and a typical bill is that of the Shovel-billed which help it to dig through the forest floor in search of prey.

Generally, some kingfisher with bills have shorts legs although those species that feed on the ground have longer tarsi.

 Most of kingfisher species have four toes and three are forward pointing.

They have good color vision and have restricted movements of their eyes within the eyes sockets.

Habitat –Kingfisher Species

Kingfishers are inhabitant of world’s tropical and temperate kingfisher.

Some species are inhabitant of wood forest

Some kingfisher inhabit are slow moving, shallow rivers and clean enough to support abundant small fish.

They can also be found in cultivated and agricultural areas and within some parks and gardens in town.

The fact that, kingfisher inhabits wide range of habitats and often associated with river and lakes and half remaining world’s species can be seen in forest and forested streams.

Amazing Facts of Kingfisher Species
Amazing Facts of Kingfisher Species

In Uganda –African Dwarf kingfisher are essentially dark blue small birds that live in many forests around the country though commonly sought in Budongo forest. They also like inhabiting lowland forest from 700-1400meter. Malachite Kingfisher species are highly dependent on water.

The blue-breasted kingfisher also lives in Uganda known as a tree kingfisher and can be found in drier savannah areas to wetter habitats during dry season still commonly seen along Royal Mile in Budongo forest in Uganda.

Nesting –ground for Kingfisher

 Kingfisher do not build a nest but are among the most species of birds that nest inside a tunnel which typically ranges around 30 – 90centmeter in length and can be found next to a river bank of slow-moving water and contains no other materials.

  Diet and Feeding –Kingfisher;

Kingfishers mainly feed on fish, sticklebacks and they also eat aquatic insects, freshwater shrimps and tadpoles like that family of alcedininae.

They feed on wide variety of prey.

To most of these species like hunting and eating some specialize in catching fish and other species can feed on frogs, amphibians, insects, spider, centipedes, reptiles like snakes and even mammals.

Woodland and Forest kingfisher mainly take insects –grasshoppers while the water kingfisher are specialized more on fish.

Like the red-backed kingfisher feed on their nestlings.

How do kingfishers are affected by Climate-Threat

Kingfisher are known as a very short living species. And many of these young species by the time are driven out of their parent’s territory when have not learned to fish.

In other words, only a quarter of adult birds survive from one breeding season to the next and few bird species tend to live longer than one breeding season and oldest bird has a record of 7.5 years.

Cold and lack of food during winter cause them to death. Due to high breeding productivity which can take long to recover from a bad winter.

Due to bad weather also cause them to death.

The industrial pollution and contamination by agricultural which causes fish to die thus leading to threaten in birds.

Human disturbance of nesting birds is also another threat since the broods fail if something upsets the feeding routine.

Overloaded machinery that grades the banks and drains the land also destroys many nests every year on lowland rivers.

Many of kingfishers are threatened by habitat loss caused by forest clearance or degradation

They can also be threatened due to habitat loss caused by introduced cattle.

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