Foods brought to the nest by breeding Kingfishers Alcedo atthis in the New Forest of southern England

Silas Reynolds, Manuel Hinge

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Very few studies have addressed the breeding ecology of the Kingfisher,
especially in Britain. The fish diet of Kingfishers was studied from 3 watersheds
in the New Forest, Hampshire using analysis of regurgitated prey remains
collected from nest tunnels and chambers. Diagnostic bones from each of 5 prey
species were selected to identify prey species represented in the remains. From
reference material, linear dimensions of the bone selected for recognition in each prey species were related to fish total length; dietary reconstructions from prey remains could thus estimate prey size structure as well as species frequency. Over 850 bones were recovered from 7 nest sites in which 10 broods were reared during 1989. Minnow was the most frequent prey with smaller numbers of the remaining species consumed. The choice of prey species was similar across different nest sites at the same watershed and also between first and second broods reared at the same nest site. Different fish species were taken at different watersheds, perhaps reflecting local variation in fish population structures. At all nest sites studied, size of prey appeared to be the main factor determining prey selection, with Minnows, Bullheads and Trout between 40 mm and 70 mm in total length being favoured.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalBird Study
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 1996


  • alcedo
  • phoxinus
  • cottus


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