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Kingfishers return to Rye Meads

PUBLISHED: 15:11 22 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:04 20 February 2013

The male kingfisher giving the female a fish which is part of their courting behaviour. Photograph by Malcolm Housden

The male kingfisher giving the female a fish which is part of their courting behaviour. Photograph by Malcolm Housden

Rye Meads nature reserve, in Hoddesdon, is delighted that its beautiful kingfishers are getting ready to have a family on the reserve.

Rye Meads nature reserve, in Hoddesdon, is delighted that its beautiful kingfishers are getting ready to have a family on the reserve.


A pair have returned to the reserve and its looks like they will raise a family in the special nesting bank. Over the last few days the pair have been showing off their glorious colours posing for lucky visitors, investigating nesting holes and they have been seen mating.


This is a brilliant time to see these beautiful birds up close, as they hang around on posts just beside the bank and courting the lady likes presents of fishes before shell accept him as a mate and start laying eggs. Once the pair start laying eggs you wont be able to see them as much, so now is a great time to visit.


Louise Moss, RSPB Information Officer, says, Kingfishers are just so beautiful! Now is the perfect time to get out and about to see these stunning birds so visit soon. Will they breed this year? Lets hope so!


The reserve is open all year round, from 10 am until 5 pm (or dusk if earlier), and its free to visit.


Rye Meads is on Rye Road, between Hoddesdon and Stanstead Abbotts. Take the Hoddesdon turning from the A10 and follow the brown duck signs 2 miles to the reserve. The Visitor Centre is just 10-minutes walk from Rye House mainline train station. For information about the reserve you can visit www.rspb.org.uk/ryemeads or check the RSPBs Rye Meads blog.



All about kingfishers



  • The Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, is small unmistakable bright blue and orange bird of slow moving or still water. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the waters surface. They are a vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses.

  • Many legends surround kingfisher's colour and its life. In Greek mythology, the kingfisher is the Halcyon bird, which has the power to control the wind and the waves, and builds a floating nest on the sea. Even today, the warm, calm days of the summer are called 'halcyon days'.

  • There are 87 species of kingfisher around the world. The common kingfisher is the only species found in Europe.

  • The kingfisher is a surprisingly small bird - only a little larger than a house sparrow.

  • The kingfisher's blue colour is created by iridescence (reflection and refraction of light within the feather) rather than by pigment. The colour appears to change in intensity, ranging from blue to green depending on the quality and angle of the light that catches the plumage.


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