Size - 17-19cm. With the Little Kingfisher, the only Australian members of the Alcedo Kingfishers which are specialists at exclusively deep diving into water for their prey. They have three toes, two of which point forwards.
A small aquatic Kingfisher with a short tail and long heavy bill. Dark, glossy blue above, with whitish rear eye-spot, and chestnut below, with red-orange feet and legs. Bill black with whitish tip.
Call is a high, thin whistle in flight and often when perched. Frequent sharp squeaking when breeding.
The Azure Kingfisher is mostly sedentary in habitat of creeks, rivers, lakes and estuaries. Preferring shade and overhanging trees where it can fish from favoured perches, diving headlong into the water. It characteristically bobs itís head as it watches for prey. Feeds on fish, small crustaceans and tadpoles.
Breeds: October to March, nesting in a tunnel 45-70cm long in a vertical bank, usually high over water but sometimes in dry gullies to avoid flooding of nests. Both birds dig the tunnel. Incubation 3 weeks and young fledge at 28-31 days. Both parents incubate eggs. Eggs round, white and 4-7 are laid.
Common where suitable habitat remains, otherwise uncommon.
The Azure Kingfisher can be seen by visiting birdwatchers to Daintree most times of the year, either on the Daintree River or in the pond in the garden of Red Mill House.