Killer Kingfishers

Although creatures that eat fish are often not popular, Kingfishers seem to get away with it – perhaps because they only eat tiddlers that no-one else is interested in.

But I wonder whether their reputations might take a turn for the worse if it turns out they eat larval Great Crested Newts at all frequently, as hinted at by the (rather good) web site 15acresinkent?

I probably lead a too sheltered life, but I’d not heard of Kingfishers eating Great Crested Newt larvae before – though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was old hat to my amphibian colleagues.

Let’s hope the excellent pictures……….

which you can see by clicking the thumbnail below and scrolling down to the bottom of the page

Killer Kingfisher

……are not too detrimental to the reputation of the cuddly Kingfisher.

Now, where did I put my trusty gun!

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4 Responses to “Killer Kingfishers”

  1. Neil Says:

    Interesting behaviour with great photos. Ive seen a great photo of a kingfisher witha 4 legged marsh frog tadpole in its beak

  2. jonspond Says:

    Culling solves nothing as you well know – but of course if there are plenty of clean water ponds created across the UK the few newts taken by kingfishers would be easily compensated. More ponds equals more newts thus more to go round!

    One thing though the juvenile smooth newt tadpole pictured on the website is a great crested newt.

    Is that photo of a metamorph marsh frog around at all? I am giving a talk on the European Water frogs that would definitely be a useful addition to the predator hall of fame

  3. jonspond Says:

    This photo is a great crested newt

    See the guide from the ARG UK
    http://www.arguk.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=11&Itemid=17

  4. jonspond Says:

    I am currently managing a great crested newt mitigation site in Essex. We have kingfishers very close by – if they visited the newt ponds to feed I would be overjoyed.

    GCN larva are open water swimmers – fish are much more of a problem than kingfishers. Fish like rudd and roach are the worst culprits for eating eggs and very young larvae while pike, perch and sticklebacks take on the larvae and efts

    Amphibians are an important part of the food chain – I often wince at the stories of introducing rudd and roach for the benefit of the Bittern – releasing non native fish into natural systems is wrong – so encouraging amphibians would be a natural alternative and it benefits the bitterns!

    Many animals eat great crested newts and their different life stages
    Herons, grass snakes, kingfishers, bitterns, little egrets, medicinal leeches, water beetles (larvae), dragonfly larvae….. I wonder whether we could make a list

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