Guarda-rios © Diogo Oliveira

Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

The Kingfisher belongs to the order Coraciiform, and therefore akin to hoopoes, bee-eaters and rollers. Widely distributed in Europe and in Portugal, occurs in a wide range of aquatic habitats like rivers, ponds, estuaries and sometimes ornamental ponds, feeding on small fish and aquatic invertebrates.

The scientific name of the species expresses its attributes: Alcedo is a Latin term for kingfishers; atthis was the name of the beautiful young favorite of the Greek poetess Sappho who lived in Lesbos in the seventh century B.C.

Text: João E. Rabaça