Like many big stars, the kingfisher is rather small, averaging 17-19 centimetres. In contrast, its beak, which is completely black in males and shimmers red on the underside of females, appears slightly oversized.
In common parlance, the kingfisher is also called the “flying gem” or the “blue lightning”. The former is, of course, based on its attractive appearance, while the latter is due to its extraordinary hunting abilities: In addition to insects and tadpoles, the kingfisher feeds on fish up to 12 centimetres in size. It swoops down on them in a matter of seconds, leaving them no chance to escape. The fish are then devoured in one piece, and their non-digestible remains are regurgitated as pellets some time later – as is also known from owls, for example.
In order to ensure its food supply, the kingfisher usually settles at clear flowing or stagnant waters. In urban areas, the rather shy bird can be observed with a little luck near ponds or streams. Besides its special appearance, you can also recognise it by its characteristic “Thjii-Thjii” calls.