Kingfisher

unknowing they swim
i’m a hovering sniper
scissored and swoop


They poise grandly above their mark. They wield a mighty dagger. They strike with precision. They abolish prey which are swallowed whole. They are king of the fishers.

Kingfishers also look as if they will topple forward at any moment. Their bills are characteristically long, sharp and strong – ultimately designed for piercing through water and spearing into a fish.

The colours and patterns of kingfishers could easily fill a Milan runway show. Kingfishers are collared, striped, green-backed, crested, spotted, white-rumped, belted, ringed, blue-breasted and moustached.

Kingfishers are popular among animal behaviour researchers. Stuffed models and cutout silhouettes of the bird are “flown” in the lab to understand predator avoidance and schooling in fishes. It’s always a good thing when science and crafting mix!

P.S. Some kingfishers have compressed bills and don’t fish. The elusive shovel-billed kingfisher (Clytoceyx rex) prefers to nom nom on beetles and snails.

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