28. The Kingfisher

The Dagenham Kingfisher

Hello there, I’m the ‘Dagenham Corridor Kingfisher’ and I represent the water. You will find me along the river because I like to feast on big juicy fish, sticklebacks, aquatic insects, shrimps and tadpoles. If I am really hungry, you may often see me raiding a garden pond.

You may catch a glimpse of me as I am striking, almost tropical looking with a blue back and orange chest and I perch on a branch along the river, looking for food. Or you may see me flying in a straight line along the water. If you are lucky, you may catch me swooping or diving for a fish and I do this closing my eyes. When I get really close to them, I will duck my head in the water so I know what size fish I’m going to pull out.

I’m not the biggest bird, I range from 17 – 19 centimetres in length.

Did you know there are over 80 species of us worldwide but only one species native to the UK?

I am very territorial so I like to protect my patch and habitat. When I am looking for a mate I will try to attract her by offering a fish. I will hold it in my beak and wait until she takes it.  But if she is not interested, I will just eat the fish all to myself and repeat this process,making my move on to the next lucky lady.

I dig my nest tunnel into sandy river banks and I do not use any other materials like twigs or leaves. I ensure the tunnel is not too slope-y so when my lady produces eggs, they won’t roll out. Our nests are a bit smelly, as they sometimes become littered with droppings, pellets and fish bones. But on a brighter note, our chicks are quite clever you know. At feeding time, each chick will take their food and then move to the back of the nest, so the next one can take their turn.

Here’s a fact, in Victorian times, many of us were shot, stuffed and put into glass cases, CHARMING! Our beautiful feathers were widely used by hat makers (milliners) to create flamboyant hats.

I don’t have a song, just a flight call like a shrill whistle, so remember to look out for me along the River Rom, you can’t miss me.

 

Story writer/provider
Carol Edwards/Ruth Taylor

Flag Designer
Carol Edwards/Ruth Taylor

Painter(s)
Kinetika Artists

Landscape Character Area
Dagenham Corridor

Thames Chase Trust, Pike Lane
Upminster, Essex RM14 3NS

01708 642970
landofthefanns@thameschase.org.uk

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