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A photo of a Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx azureus)
Azure Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher

Ceyx azureus

The azure kingfisher, a diminutive and strikingly vibrant bird, boasts a length of 17–19 cm (6.7–7.5 in). Males typically weigh between 29–32 g (1.0–1.1 oz), while females are marginally heavier at 31–35 g (1.1–1.2 oz). Its plumage is a resplendent deep blue to azure on the back, complemented by a conspicuous white to buff spot on the side of the neck and throat. The breast and flanks are adorned with rufous-buff and blue-violet streaks, and the feet are a distinctive red, featuring only two forward toes.

Identification Tips

When observing the azure kingfisher, look for its vibrant blue back and the large white to buff spot on the side of its neck. The white lores, though inconspicuous, can be seen as two large white eye-like spots in a frontal view, possibly serving as a deterrent to predators. The red feet with two forward toes are also a key identification feature.

Habitat

The azure kingfisher is typically found along the banks of vegetated creeks, lakes, swamps, tidal estuaries, and mangroves, preferring areas with ample cover.

Distribution

This species graces northern and eastern Australia, Tasmania, the lowlands of New Guinea, neighbouring islands, North Maluku, and Romang with its presence. It is common in the northern part of its range and less so in the south.

Behaviour

The azure kingfisher is generally sedentary, though it may partake in some seasonal migration. It is often elusive until it swiftly darts from its perch above water to capture prey.

Song & Calls

While usually silent, the azure kingfisher emits a sharp, squeaky call during the breeding season. Its voice is characterized by a high-pitched, shrill "pseet-pseet", often heard in flight.

Breeding

Breeding occurs from September to April in northern Australia and from August to February in the south, with the possibility of two broods. The nest is a chamber at the end of a 1 m (3 ft 3 in) burrow in a creek bank. Clutches typically consist of 4–6 white, rounded, glossy eggs. Both parents share in incubation over 20–22 days and continue to feed the young for an additional 3 to 5 weeks.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the azure kingfisher includes small fish, crustaceans, water beetles, spiders, locusts, and small amphibians such as frogs and tadpoles.

Conservation status

Despite a decreasing population, the azure kingfisher's extensive distribution has warranted its classification as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List.

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Azure Kingfishers on Birda

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A photo of a Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) , male

Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis
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