Sacred Kingfishers

blue-green bird on powerline
Sacred Kingfisher, Todiramphus sanctus, on a favourite vantage point

I have seen Sacred Kingfishers perching on my neighbours’ power-line on several occasions in the last few weeks. It’s a good spot for perch-and-swoop predators because it has such a clear field of view (our own power-line is not so good because it runs between trees) and I have repeatedly seen Rainbow Bee-eaters there too.

The photo above is recent but the one below is much older. I came across it while looking for something else and thought it was worth sharing, even at this late date, to show just how small these gorgeous birds are.

Sacred Kingfisher cradled in hands
A bird in the hand … is better off than a bird in the cat’s grasp

This shot was taken by my camera in 2009 but those are my hands holding the bird so I must have asked my son to pick up the camera. The back-story is, as the caption implies, that the bird was rescued in the nick of time from the grip of our cat and released a few minutes later with no significant injuries.

Sadly, other birds (and reptiles) have not always been so lucky and I have to admit to conflicting emotions around the practice of keeping cats as pets, a topic I may return to on another occasion.

By the way, both birds are definitely Sacred Kingfishers in spite of the rather different green-blue coloration, since this is the only species with a buff spot (rather than a white one) above the eye. Slaters Field Guide says females are “duller and more green” than the male so these two are probably male (top) and female. Six weeks ago we saw both Sacred and Forest Kingfishers on a Wildlife Queensland walk on the Town Common. The photo (not mine) on the WQ report on the walk shows two Forest Kingfishers.

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