Birds of Switzerland
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    Common Kingfisher

    Alcedo atthis

    Information

    The Common Kingfisher's scintillating colouring, its secretive habits and its rarity have made it famous. According to a French legend, it acquired its colours because Noah released it with the mission to look for dry land. To avoid a violent storm, the Kingfisher had to fly higher than the sun. Like this, its upperparts took on the blue of the sky and its underparts became tinged red by the glow of the sun.

    Voice

    Status (in CH)
    regular, scarce breeder, migrant and winter visitor
    Annual cycle
    The bar on the top line indicates during which seasons the species can be observed regularly in Switzerland. There can be great seasonal fluctuations of numbers. The middle bar indicates the typical migration seasons of a species. The bottom bar indicates the period during which the species normally breeds. As a rule it spans the period from egg-laying to fledging of the young.
    Annual cycle
    Annual cycle

    Facts

    Population size in Switzerland (Pairs)
    300 - 350 (2008-2012)
    Migration behaviour
    resident to short-distance migrant
    Diurnal/nocturnal migrant
    Diurnal and nocturnal migrant
    Length (cm)
    16-17
    wing span (cm)
    24-26
    Weight (g)
    40-45
    Nest site
    holes in the ground
    Food
    fish
    Group
    Kingfishers
    Habitat
    lakes, rivers & streams, wetlands
    Distribution
    Distribution
    Distribution