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Birding Málaga


Common name Common kingfisher
Scientific name Alcedo atthis
Type Waterbirds
Status Resident

Small bird (about 17cm or 6.5 in) with a spectacular plumage based on turquoise blue and green tones with metallic shine in the dorsal area and orange in the underparts. Large head with elongated, black bill. White throat and cheeks. Short, red legs and tail.


Wetlands, river and riverside

Where it lives

Species usually linked to middle courses of streams and rivers with presence of fish and certain water quality. Also present in pools and lakes, ditches and ponds or wetlands with marsh vegetation. It requires the existence of sandy slopes where to nest.

How it lives

Species resident and present all year round in Malaga. The kingfisher excavates nests on slopes with entries more than one meter long (3.3 ft) that end in a chamber in which it lays 6 to 7 eggs two or three times a year. It feeds on fish that it catches diving into the water. The bird locates its prey from a perch situated above the water and it plunges, capturing the prey using its bill. It also consumes aquatic insects and amphibians.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Common and frequent bird in Malaga. It can be observed in most of the streams that flow into the Coastal Path and that maintain a certain quality of habitat, in the reservoirs and wetlands near the coast, in the mouth of the Guadalhorce and the Vélez rivers, and even in some ports as in the one in La Bajadilla, in Marbella.

Curious facts

Kingfishers usually fly low over the water and with a quick flutter. They are usually seen in horizontal and rapid flight, like a multicoloured arrow, almost always at water level. Their Latin name derives from "alción" which in turn derives from the Greek "alkyón", daughter of the wind god Aeolus, which was transformed into a fast bird with fabulous colours.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration