Size: Averages 20 cm long including short tail, 40 g.
Range and lifestyle: Migratory, living in one place where they breed during summer, then flying up to 1,000 km or more to another place to spend their “winter”.
Food: Small reptiles, insects, frogs, fish and crustaceans.
Breeding: Usually nest in a hole drilled into a termite nest on a tree. Female lays 3-6 glossy white eggs that take 17-18 days to incubate.
The staccato “kek kek kek kek” calls of these handsome green-blue and white birds are as much a symbol of summer as is the loud buzzing of cicadas.
They take up territories in Brisbane in August or September, and after breeding, many migrate north to spend the winter as far away as New Guinea and eastern Indonesia.
Some Sacred Kingfishers can be found in Brisbane throughout the year, mostly in mangroves. It is not known if these are local birds or migrants from further south.
As is the case with their largest relative, the Laughing Kookaburra, they nest inside a hollow tunnel. In Queensland, nests are usually excavated in termite mounds on trees, but sometimes they use tree hollows or dig tunnels into earth banks.
Text © Richard Noske 2021 CC BY-NC-SA
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