Species Focus


(Alcedo atthis)


Kingfishers are a focus species for the lake and runway grassland area at Waterbeach.

Listen to a kingfisher call

Discover: Kingfisher

Kingfishers nest in burrow-like nests dug into the banks of rivers, lakes and quarries. Around Easter time kingfishers lay their first clutch of 6-7 eggs with 2-3 broods often raised in a single breeding season. There are over 90 species of kingfisher globally.

  • Conservation status: Amber (Birds of Conservation Concern); Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • Measurements: Length: 15-17 cm, wingspan: 24-26 cm, weight: 34-46 g.
  • Listen: Kingfishers make dry, loud calls.

Kingfishers catch their fish blind. Once they have spotted their prey they remember its location and dive into the water beak first with their third eyelid closed.


Can you spot: Kingfishers are most recognisable by their bright orange belly and vibrant blue head, back and wings. Look out for them flying low or perched on branches over the water hunting for fish and insects.

Did you know: Kingfisher chicks can eat 12–18 fish a day, meaning the adults need to catch over 120 fish per day for their brood.

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