Capricorn Coast Birds
   
 
 
Kookaburras and Kingfishers
 
         
  Laughing Kookaburra
Dacelo novaeguineae
Average size 44cm.
  Blue-winged Kookaburra
Dacelo leachii
Average size 30cm

 
 
 
 
         
  Laughing Kookaburras have a page of their own, just follow this link.   Blue-winged Kookaburras have a page of their own, just follow this link.  
 
Forest Kingfisher
Todiramphus macleayii
Average size 20 cm
 
     
     
         
 

These are found in Indonesia, New Guinea and coastal eastern and northern Australia from Cape York to the north coast of New South Wales. Their natural habitat is open forest with a patchy or sparse understorey but they have adapted well to our presence and are not uncommon here, you will see them in parks and gardens, near mangroves and beaches, often on power lines along roads or as a brilliant flash of iridescent blue when they pursue their prey. They share overlapping habitats with the Sacred Kingfisher which looks very similar, however these have a pale brownish body and patch before the eye and are a slightly metallic blue.
Their diet includes beetles, bugs, spiders, grasshoppers, insect larvae, small lizards, frogs and worms. These are pounced on from low branches or telegraph wires then there is a quick return flight to a perch where the prey is killed by bashing it against the branch.
The sexes are almost identical with the only difference being an incomplete white collar on the female, breeding is fromSeptember to February in nests created in tree cavities, earth banks or often in termite nests in trees.

 
         
Sacred Kingfisher
Todiramphus sanctus
Average size21 cm
 
         
     
         
 

These smaller members of our Kingfishers are common and familiar throughout the coastal regions of mainland Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the western Pacific. They are called “sacred” for they were said to be a holy bird for Polynesians, who believed them to have control over the waves.
They are found in a wide range of woodlands, mangroves, open eucalypt forest and melaleuca forest. They  are quite common in our residential areas and you will often see them perched on power lines as you walk or drive around, the photo was taken at Lammermoor Native Gardens.
They forage mainly on the land, only occasionally capturing prey in the water and feed on crustaceans, reptiles, insects and their larvae and sometimes fish. Usually, a bird will sit on a low branch and wait for prey to pass by, it then swoops down to grab the prey and returns to its perch to eat.
Males and females look alike and nest in a burrow in a termite mound, river bank or hollow branch, which can be up to 20m above the ground, like most birds both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young.

 
         
Azure Kingfisher
Alcedo azurea
Average size 18cm
 
         
    These are found from the Kimberley region, Western Australia, across the Top End to Queensland, and are widespread east of the Great Dividing Range into Victoria, they are also found in the lowlands of New Guinea and on neighbouring islands.
 They are never far from water, living along freshwater rivers and creeks and around billabongs, lakes, swamps and dams. They are also seen in residential areas where there is permanent water with shady overhanging vegetation such as parks with ponds or on rivers.
The Azure Kingfishers diet includes a wide range of small aquatic animals such as fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects and other invertebrates. They watch for prey from overhanging perches and then plunge into the water to catch it.
The sexes look alike and nest at the end of a long burrow dug out of soil in a riverbank. The tunnel slopes upwards to the nesting chamber and can be 80 cm - 130 cm long.

The photo was taken at Waterpark Creek when I was camping there recently, Waterpark is a real delight for campers with a variety of small birds popping in and out of the bushes just metres away.
More about being at Waterpark Creek