This week’s French word is “Martin -pêcheur”. It means kingfisher.
- Kingfishers eat mainly fish, chiefly minnows and sticklebacks, but they also take aquatic insects, freshwater shrimps and tadpoles.
- They close their eyes as they dive into the water, so they are fishing blind! They bob their heads before diving to accurately judge the depth of the fish.
- Kingfisher courtship occurs in spring. The male will approach the female with a fish in his beak. He will hold it so that the head of the fish is facing outwards and attempt to feed it to the female. If he is unsuccessful he will simply eat the fish himself. He may have to repeat this feeding behaviour for some time before mating occurs.
- A kingfisher pair dig a nest tunnel in vertical, sandy river banks. The nest chamber at the end has a slight depression to prevent eggs rolling out, but no material is brought into the nest.
- The first clutch of 6-7 eggs is laid in late March or in early April. Each chick can eat 12-18 fish a day meaning the adults may catch over 120 fish each day for their brood.