Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Birds

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Description

A fairly small bird, reaching a maximum of 20 cm long. Unmistakeable on the ground and in flight, with its bright blue wings and head, iridescent blue back, orange breast and cheeks, white neck and long black beak. Will usually be seen sitting on projections (roots, posts etc.) in a river bank or flying close to the water’s surface.To sustain at least 60% of its body weight each day, they are highly territorial and is essential for them to have control of a suitale stretch of river, hunting solitarily.

Habitat

The common kingfisher will most likely be found along the banks of slow moving rivers with plenty of trees or similar protrusions which allow them to perch and hunt prey. This bird can also be found along canals, ponds and streams. The presence of kingfishers in an area is an indicator of a healthy river ecosystem.

Diet

Small fish such as sicklebacks, minnows and roach make up the majority of the common kingfisher’s diet (around 66%). However, when times are hard, like during the winter months, they will eat small crustaceans, invertebrates and insect larvae.

Protection Status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Interesting Facts

The presence of the Common Kingfisher bird is an indicator of freshwater community health as the highest quality of water is found in their habitats.

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