Mating is the only time that Alcedo atthis individuals are not solitary. At the beginning of the mating season, males will chase females through the trees, producing a loud whistle. Common kingfishers will find a new mate each year. Mating only occurs in the warmer months of the year, starting in April and ending sometimes as late as October.
Mating System: monogamous
In about mid-March nesting begins. The male and female work together to dig a hole into a bank along a water source. Common kingfishers prefer steep banks. The holes are of various depths and are dug into various types of soil. Usually a hole between 15 and 30 cm long is dug, but on occasion some as deep as 1.2 meters have been discovered. They may nest in clay, rock, or sandy ground. Nests also vary in the distance they are above the water, with the distance varying from 0.5 to 37 meters above the water level.
Both parents will raise and feed the young. However, the female will do most of the work. Common kingfishers will brood 2 to 3 clutches a year. These clutches consist usually of 6 or 7 eggs, but there may be as many as 10.
Breeding interval: Common kingfishers have 2-3 clutches yearly, one in April, another by July, and sometimes, a final clutch in early October.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs from early April until early October.
Range eggs per season: 4 to 10.
Average eggs per season: 6.
Range time to hatching: 18 to 21 days.
Range fledging age: 23 to 27 days.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Both males and females help to raise the young. For 19-21 days they incubate the eggs. Both will incubate during the day, only the female at night. Both have active roles in brooding and feeding the young, but the female does most of the work. One parent will hunt, then return with a fish exactly the right size for the young, they will also hold it by the tail so that the young can swallow the fish head first. When the young are able, they will eagerly wait at the opening of the burrow to be fed. After 23-27 days the young fledge and emerge from the nest.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)
- Bannerman, D. 1955. The Birds Of The British Isles. Edinburgh: Tweedale Court London: 39a Welbeck Street: Oliver and Boyd LTD..
- Tan, R. 2001. "Mangrove and wetland wildlife at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve" (On-line). Accessed November 03, 2005 at http://www.naturia.per.sg/buloh/birds/Alcedo_atthis.htm.
- Wikipedia, 2005. "European Kingfisher" (On-line). Accessed November 09, 2005 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcedo_atthis.