657. The Kingfisher.
Alcedo ispida, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 179 (1766) ; Naum. v, Taf. 84, figs. 1, 2 ; Hewitson, i. p. 255 pl. liv. fig. 1 ; Gould, B. of E. ii. pl. 61 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 10 ; Newton, ii. p. 443 : Dresser, v. p. 113, pl. 290 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xvii. p. 141 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 122 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 175 ; Saun¬ders, p. 279 ; Lilford, ii. p. 14, pl. 6 ; A. bengalensis, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 450 (1788) ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 74 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 194.
Martin-pecheur, French ; Guarda-rios, Portug ; Martin-pescador, Span. ; Piombina, Ital. ; Gemeiner Misvogel, German ; Ijsvogel, Dutch ; Isfugl, Norweg. and Dan. ; Kungsfiskare Swed. ; Zemorodok, Russ. ; Chotakilkila, Hindu. ; Khandu, Mahratta ; Dane-nyin, Burm. ; Kawasemi, Jap. ; Kandil-el-vehar, Moorish ; Tur-el-achdar. Arab.
Male ad. (England). Crown crested, dark green, barred with rich blue ; upper bank and scapulars green, but the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts rich cobalt blue ; tail deep, almost indigo blue ; greater wing, coverts tipped with rich cobalt blue ; space before the eye and earcoverts light chestnut ; from the base of the mandible to the sides of the breast a dark green, line barred with blue ; chin, throat, and a patch on each side of the neck white tinged with fulvous ; rest of the under parts rich chest¬nut ; bill black, but orange at the base below ; legs deep reddish ; iris brown. Culmen 1.7, wing 2.95, tail 1.5, tarsus 0.3 inch. The female differs only in being rather greener, and the young bird is darker and duller, has the bill shorter and all black, the legs blackish grey tinged with red.
Hab. Europe generally, north to Gefle in Sweden, but not found in Finland ; North Africa, Madeira, and the Canaries ; Asia north to Lake Baikal, east to Corea and Japan, south to N. China ; Burma, Sind. Baluchistan, and Persia.
Frequents rivers, brooks, and ponds where the banks are wooded, and at some seasons the sea-coast. It affects shady places, perching on a branch, stump, or stone, close to or over hanging the water where it can watch for its prey, and when disturbed it darts out and skims along the stream at lightning speed, uttering its shrill cry, teet, teet, teet. It feeds on small fish, which it captures by dropping into the water like a stone, water-insects and crustaceans. It excavates its nest-hole in a bank, or sometimes uses a rat’s hole, and at the end enlarges it into an oval chamber where, on the bare soil or on the fishbones and castings, it lays in April, May, or June, its 5 to 7 glossy white, roundish-oval eggs, which measure about 0.85 by 0.75.
657. Alcedo ispida
657. The Kingfisher.