Kookaburras, kingfishers, Bee-eater and Dollarbird


Alcedinidae (river kingfishers) Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers) Meropidae (bee-eaters) and Coraciidae (Dollarbird)

The birds in this group are related, being in the order Coraciiformes. Most have broad, stout bills and nest in cavities. Only the Laughing Kookaburra is resident in our area and the other three are summer breeding migrants.

Kookaburras and kingfishers are plump mostly short-tailed birds with short legs, large heads and large bills.

The only river kingfisher recorded in the Garden Bird Survey is the Azure Kingfisher (4).

The Red-backed Kingfisher is an occasional visitor to Canberra during very dry spells, but has yet to be recorded in the Garden Bird Survey.

Of the 24 species of bee-eater in the world, the only Australian representative is the Rainbow Bee-eater. This is a colourful bird with a slender moderately down-curved bill. The flight of the bee-eater is swift and graceful, with the birds taking their prey on the wing. They remove the sting of bees and wasps before devouring them.

The Dollarbird is one of 11 species of Roller in the world. They have long broad wings and relatively short bodies. The two white circles under the Dollarbird’s wings give it its name. Rollers are named from their spectacular looping flight seen during courtship displays.