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Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis
Kingfisher is relatively widely distributed throughout the country and throughout the year, not just along waterways, but also around lakes, docks and canals. There were particularly notable clusters along the coastline of Counties Dublin, Meath and Cork, and also in the north midlands. Kingfishers prefer lowland waterways and are territorial, with these territories being vigorously defended in some species.
Adult birds seldom move far from their breeding territories (usually less than 10 km), although juveniles are kicked out of territories during early autumn, and they can travel distances up to 250km. The kingfishers are cavity nesters, with most species nesting in holes dug in the ground. These holes are usually in earth banks on the sides of rivers, lakes or human ditches and banks. Some species may nest in holes in trees, the earth clinging to the roots of an uprooted tree.
It is a sign of good water quality where it is found as its feeds on fish and water insects. The Blackwater SAC is one of two rivers in Ireland that are designated for the conservation of the Kingfisher.