photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Charlie Fleming | all galleries >> Birds of the world in Taxonomic order. Species count to December 2023 is 980 >> Common Kingfisher - Alcedo athis >> Breeding Kingfishers 2013 > 11 July
previous | next
Bathing in-flight.

11 July

There was lots to see at the nest site this morning. At first when I arrived just after 6.30 there wasn't a lot to going on until 6.45 when the first bird arrived with prey for the youngsters. They haven't fledged yet but I think it is very near. I am basing this on the state of the nest burrow which is now quite messy around the entrance with the remains of guano starting to be noticeable. Imagine healthy youngsters in the nest all excreting copious amounts of very wet droppings as well as the remains of the odd piece of rotting fish and, who knows there may even be the decomposing remains of a dead fledgling? After exiting the nest, the parents almost invariably dunk in to the river a couple of times without breaking flight. This is to wash their plumage which would obviously, very quickly get clogged and matted. Kingfishers are normally very fastidious about their plumage anyway and even out of the breeding season, spend a lot of their time preening. Once the bird has reached the safety of the trees opposite the nest, they dunk in and out of the water a few times again to make sure their plumage is clean. Then from there they seem to fly up stream to a favourite fishing spot. I decided to try and catch this "dunking" splash today and am thrilled with the results.

I have been trying to "guesstimate" the number of youngsters in the nest and I am plumping for 4. Here's how I arrived at this guess. I have read that baby Kingfishers need to eat 12 to 15 fish each day. So taking 16 hours of daylight, that is 960 minutes of daylight each day. If there was just one youngster in the nest and we knew that it required 15 fish each day that would equate to a fish (on average) being brought every 64 minutes throughout the day. This morning though, again taking an average, a fish was delivered every 16 minutes. So if I work this in reverse, I divided this 16 minutes in to 960, meaning that 57 fish would be delivered in a day. To have a guess at how many youngsters there are I have just divided this 57 fish by the number of fish required for one baby, and we already know that this s 15....... and the answer is 3.84. You can't have 8.84 birds........ so rounded up lets call that 4, and thats how I have arrived at my guess of 4.

An even more amazing statistic is this. Based on these figures, in the 25 days that the chicks are in the nest , 1425 fish are delivered by the parents. Imagine that! Plus also, the 600 fish that the parents need to feed themselves, 300 each. That's a total of 2025 fish required for one clutch of young Kingfishers. This says a massive amount about the kind of habitat Kingfishers require.

Pentax PENTAX K-5 II s
1/2000s f/5.6 at 500.0mm iso1600 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Art Wittingen18-Jul-2013 11:38
Well done ! High difficulty challenge !
Type your message and click Add Comment
It is best to login or register first but you may post as a guest.
Enter an optional name and contact email address. Name
Name Email
help private comment