A trick of the light

I never tire of watching Sacred Kingfishers.

Spring migrants, arriving usually in late September, they breed in a wide variety of locations around Newstead. Over the years I’ve found nests in disused mine shafts and termite mounds, as well as more typical sites – horizontal tree hollows and earthen tunnels.

A flash of brilliant blue-green or their harsh scolding call alerts me to their presence. The sexes are very much alike, the male is often described as somewhat bluer and brighter, but as these images show (compare the first three with the last), the light can easily mislead. Male Sacred Kingfishers also tend to have buffer underparts as is evident in the first image.

All images are of the same individual. I first spotted it perched on a branch overhanging the river, a skink firmly snagged in its bill. The bird, an adult male, was making a series of advertising calls (skink in bill) – the unfortunate skink a courtship offering. While I didn’t spot the female on this occasion I had observed the pair in the same area the evening prior. I expect they’ll nest in the vertical river bank, freshly eroded after recent floods.

Sacred1-1

Sacred Kingfisher (adult male) with courtship offering, Loddon River @ Newstead, 30th November 2022

Sacred2-1

II

Sacred3-1

III

Sacred4-1

IV

One response to “A trick of the light

  1. Stunning shots Geoff, wish we got them beauties down this way!

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