In Britain, this species is widespread (4); its stronghold is central and southern England (5), becoming scarce in Scotland (4). Until the mid 1980s, the kingfisher underwent a decline in both range and numbers in its main habitat of linear waterways. Since then, it seems to have experienced a recovery, however it is not yet clear if this recovery is complete (6). Elsewhere, this species is found across Europe, and in most of Asia, reaching as far east as Japan. It also occurs in Africa south of the Sahara (4).
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