Significance to humans

Kingfishers were featured in Greek mythology and on Egyptian friezes. Skulls of yellow-billed kingfishers (Syma torotoro) were worn as hair decorations in New Guinea, while the calls or sightings of some species were observed as omens, good or bad, by people of New Guinea and Borneo. Victorians added kingfishers to their collections of stuffed birds, drawn by the royal blue of the common kingfisher that gives the group its name. Kingfishers form part of legends among Arawak and Arikana tribes of Guyana and the Missouri River, respectively. Early in the twentieth century, the laughing kookaburra became an important symbol of Australia. Many other examples of human-kingfisher interaction probably exist. Currently, several species are persecuted for eating fish stocks bred for angling or farming.

Kingfisher Symbol

1. Striped kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti); 2. Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis); 3. Pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis); 4. Collared kingfisher (Todiram-phus chloris); 5. African pygmy-kingfisher (Ceyx pictus); 6. Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon); 7. Yellow-billed kingfisher (Syma torotoro); 8. Amazon kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona). (Illustration by Brian Cressman)

African Pygmy Kingfisher Ecology

1. Laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae); 2. Common paradise kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea); 3. Lilac-cheeked kingfisher (Cittura cyan-otis); 4. Rufous-collared kingfisher (Actenoides concretus); 5. Hook-billed kingfisher (Melidora macrorrhina); 6. White-rumped kingfisher (Caridonax fulgidus); 7. Banded kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella); 8. Stork-billed kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis); 9. Shovel-billed kookaburra (Clytoceyx rex). (Illustration by Brian Cressman)

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