• WordNet 3.6
    • n kingfisher nonpasserine large-headed bird with a short tail and long sharp bill; usually crested and bright-colored; feed mostly on fish
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Additional illustrations & photos:

kingfisher on bare branch kingfisher on bare branch

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The hummingbird, the loon, the swift, the kingfisher, and the grebe are all birds that cannot walk.
    • n Kingfisher kĭng"fĭsh`ẽr (Zoöl) Any one of numerous species of birds constituting the family Alcedinidæ. Most of them feed upon fishes which they capture by diving and seizing them with the beak; others feed only upon reptiles, insects, etc. About one hundred and fifty species are known. They are found in nearly all parts of the world, but are particularly abundant in the East Indies.☞ The belted king-fisher of the United States (Ceryle alcyon) feeds upon fishes. It is slate-blue above, with a white belly and breast, and a broad white ring around the neck. A dark band crosses the breast. The common European species (Alcedo ispida), which is much smaller and brighter colored, is also a fisher. See Alcedo. The wood kingfishers (Halcyones), which inhabit forests, especially in Africa, feed largely upon insects, but also eat reptiles, snails, and small Crustacea, as well as fishes. The giant kingfisher of Australia feeds largely upon lizards and insects. See Laughing jackass, under Laughing.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n kingfisher Any bird of the extensive family Alcedinidæ. Kingfishers form a natural family of picarian birds, with fissirostral bill and syndactyl feet, and are remarkable for their number and variety as well as for the brilliancy of their plumage. They nest in holes, and lay white eggs. Their characteristic habit is to sit motionless on the watch for their prey, dart after it, and return to their perch. There are about 125 species and 20 genera, found in most parts of the world, but very unevenly distributed. Thus, there are only 2 species peculiar to northern parts of the old world, only 2 species in North America, and only one genus in all America. The Ethiopian region and the Indian region are about equally rich; the Australian (in a broad sense) is the richest, alone possessing half the genera and half the species. The common kingfisher of Europe, Alcedo ispida, a small bird of brilliant colors, is supposed to be the halcyon of classic writers. The pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis, also inhabits Europe as well as other countries. The common American kingfisher, C. alcyon, is 12½ inches long, 22 in extent of wings, dull-blue above, white below, with a bluish belt on the breast and in the female a chestnut bar behind this; the wing-and tail-feathers are black, spotted and barred with white; the head is crested. This bird is known as the belted kingfisher. (See cut under Ceryle.) A small, glossy green-and-white species, which reaches the Mexican border of the United States, is C. cabanisi. The giant kingfisher or laughing-jackass of Australia is Dacelo gigas. See cut under Dacelo.
    • n kingfisher Erroneously—2. The water-ouzel, Cinclus aquaticus, popularly imagined to be the female of the kingfisher Alcedo ispida. [Local, (Scotland and Ireland.]
    • n kingfisher The tern or sea-swallow. Also king's-fisher.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Kingfisher a bird with very brilliant plumage, feeding on fish, the halcyon
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. cyningcyn, a tribe, with suffix -kin; cog. with kin.


In literature:

Off to her nest goes the kingfisher, bearing to her brood the struggling sixth.
"The Log of the Sun" by William Beebe
Kingfishers are not numerous, as fish are scarce.
"The Heart of Nature" by Francis Younghusband
All are charmed with the jewelry fabricated by the workers in kingfishers' feathers, and make liberal selections.
"East of Suez" by Frederic Courtland Penfield
It is the favorite haunt of gaily-colored kingfishers.
"A Handful of Stars" by Frank W. Boreham
In the hollow at Long Ditton I had the delight, a day or two since, to see a kingfisher.
"The Toilers of the Field" by Richard Jefferies
It was not until it had disappeared that she realized that it was a kingfisher which had just crossed the pond.
"Nobody's Girl" by Hector Malot
The Kingfisher and the Fishes, 81.
"Little Folks (December 1884)" by Various
Twice in the fall I have found a kingfisher about the Frog Pond.
"Birds in the Bush" by Bradford Torrey
A kingfisher, disturbed by his arrival, went rattling on his way upstream.
"The Rival Campers Ashore" by Ruel Perley Smith
The kingfisher is in his appointed place.
"Wild Life on the Rockies" by Enos A. Mills

In poetry:

Kingfisher blue,
Was it you
Or a scrap of the sky
Flashed by,
Kingfisher blue?
"The Kingfisher" by Cicely Fox Smith
Sweet by the river's noisy brink
The water-lily bursts her crown,
The kingfisher comes down to drink
Like rainbow jewels falling down.
"Spring" by Francis Ledwidge
`When the cuckoo and nightingale voice in parts
May's madrigal loud and clear,
And the kingfisher dives and the dragonfly darts,
You will neither feel nor hear.
"The Fallen Elm" by Alfred Austin
``Yes, I am an April Fool: confessed!
And my pate grows not wise for scratching;
But I know where the kingfisher drills his nest,
And the long—tailed tits are hatching.''
"An April Fool" by Alfred Austin
At last the great kingfisher came, and called
Across the hollows, loud with early whips,
And lighted, laughing, on the shepherd's hut,
And roused the widow from a swoon like death.
"A Death in the Bush" by Henry Kendall
Far hotter seems it for the bird that drinks,
The startled kingfisher that screams and flies;
Hotter and lonelier for the purple pinks
Of weeds that bloom, whose sultry perfumes rise
Stifling the swooning skies.
"Heat" by Madison Julius Cawein

In news:

An Indian aviation official said last month that Etihad also was interested in a potential stake in Kingfisher 's rival, Jet Airways (India) Ltd (532617.BY).
INTERVIEWS The Ruby Suns Let Yetis Duke It Out With Axes in Technicolor ' Kingfisher Call Me' Video.
Kingfisher 's Championship game.
Dec 8 Kingfisher players talk about the upcoming game against Lincoln Christian.
Lions win gold ball, hold off Kingfisher powerful offense.
Lions' defense was on the field for 74 of the game's 112 snaps against a potent Kingfisher offense.
Blanchard tops Kingfisher for gold ball.
The Kingfisher Yellowjackets' state title hopes are alive after a 35-14 win over Tuttle on Friday night.
MEC scoops £45m Kingfisher media.
B&Q: Kingfisher brand's creative review is ongoing.
The consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation says Kingfisher 's total debt is about $2.5 billion.
Jet Doubles Repayment as Default Halts Kingfisher : India Credit.
Indian Billionaire Mallya Needs $1 Bln Fast To Save Kingfisher Airlines.
Kingfisher 's flight license has been suspended by aviation regulators.
As of 3.52 am EDT, Kingfisher shares were up 4.7 percent, while United Spirits shares were up 1.5 percent.