244 (Common) Kingfisher
(Alcedo atthis)


17-19cm (including bill). A small, plump, short-tailed and short-legged bird with big head and disproportionately long bill. Perches upright. Beautifully bright colours: crown and wings greenish-blue (look more greenish from some angles depending on how light falls), back and tail bright blue (shifting from azure to cobalt!), underparts and cheek patch warm orangey brownish-red, throat and a patch on neck-side snow-white. Despite this display of colour can be difficult to pick out if perched motionless in shadow on a waterside branch. More often noted as it flies straight and fast low over water, calling. Sexes similar, but in breeding pairs male has all-black bill and female reddish base to lower mandible. Legs light red.


The Common Kingfisher is a widespread breeder in small numbers in Hungary in steep banks of flowing and standing waters throughout the country. Largest population densities are observed along the Tisza River. During post-breeding dispersal appears along small mountain streams, fishponds and canals. Partially migrant, majority of the breeding population stays in Hungary between March and November. In august and September migrants can be seen anywhere near water. Overwinters at unfrozen waters.

244 (Common) Kingfisher pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008