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Little Kingfisher

Alcedo pusilla

Size 11-12cm. Australia's smallest Kingfisher and the second smallest Kingfisher in the world. With the Azure 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 tiny, aquatic Kingfisher with large, heavy bill and short tail, dark, glossy blue above and white below. White spot before eye and on each side of the neck. Black legs, feet and bill.

Call a thin, shrill whistle, higher pitched weaker than the Azure Kingfisher and often inaudible to humans. Flight is fast, direct and low over the water.

The Little Kingfisher is a bird of lowland rainforest streams, preferring dark, narrow spaces with overhanging vegetation. May also inhabit lakes, estuaries and coastal mangroves. It perches low, plunges into the water for fish and small crustaceans and returns to perch. It will often bob it's head and wings while watching for prey. An uncommon resident of coastal north-east Queensland and the Top End.

Breeding is through the Wet Season, particularly January. The nest is in holes in the banks of streams or in rotten logs and at the base of epiphytes or in mangrove roots. Nesting tunnels are 15cm or less long and have a small terminal nesting chamber. Eggs are white and round, with 4-5 being laid. Little is known about incubation. Both parents feed the young.

An uncommon, but sedentary kingfisher, and one targeted by many birdwatchers to North Queensland. For those birdwatching in Daintree, the Little Kingfisher can be found in the pond of the garden at Red Mill House and on the Daintree River most of the year.

• Return to Daintree Bird species.
• Return to Daintree Accommodation - Red Mill House Bed And Breakfast.


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