Photo: C & D Frith
Wet Tropics Rainforest Life
AZURE KINGFISHER: Alcedo azurea 18 cm
In Australia the Azure Kingfisher occurs widely on watercourses and lakes in the north and east that have densely vegetated margins.
Mostly it is seen skimming over the water in rapid flight, or plunging for small fishes from a low perch.
Its call is high pitched and difficult to hear.
The nest is a hole in a bank close to the water's edge.
Around Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge it is present on watercourses in the rainforest, and at Lake Eacham.
Additional Information: Environmental Protection Agency
Courting azure kingfishers may appear as flashes of blue zig-zagging along streams and rivers as they prepare to produce the next generation.
The nest is built in a chamber at the end of a one-metre tunnel which both sexes help to excavate into the stream bank.
This chamber is lined with fish scales, bones and crustacean shells and four to seven rounded white eggs are laid.
This is a common type of egg for birds nesting in holes.
They do not need to be pointed because they are not going to roll away and the white colour makes them visible to the parent birds in the gloomy chamber.
This lovely bird lives up to its name. It is indeed a most glorious colour of blue (the word azure is derived from the Persian word for the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli).
Unlike many other kingfishers which feed on land, it frequents streams and rivers, perching above the water and diving down when a suitable fish appears.
It also eats crustaceans and aquatic insects.
Script: Courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency
: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
Additional Information: Damon Ramsey
The Azure Kingfisher is one of the most beautiful of all kingfishers, coloured a bright blue with rufous underparts. It is usually found near water, where it perches on tree branches waiting for movement. It often performs a peculiar movement, bobbing with its head and lifting its tail as it waits. In flight it can be very fast and direct, and may hover when hunting, plunging down for a quick splash as it grabs its prey.
Script: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
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