Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). Photo: Seán Ronayne.

The flash of lightning blue darting low along a water-body cannot be mistaken for anything other than the elusive and enigmatic Kingfisher, so aptly named. Whilst it is the only resident species, Ireland has had several records of Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon), a very rare vagrant, from North America. The most recent Irish record occurred this winter (2020/21).

The call is high-pitched and piercing and can be given as a single syllable “tseee“, or disyllabically, “t-tseee“. These notes can be given singly or likewise as a series of rapid, excited bursts, as is the case in the following, passively recorded example: