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( Originally Published 1894 )
The Kingfishers are a wide-spread family, being found all over the world. There are numerous varieties, of which the Common Kingfisher and the Laughing Kingfisher are all that we can notice. The Common Kingfisher is indigenous in England where it usually lives on the banks of rivers and streams, feeding upon fish and insects. It makes burrows or holes in the banks, where it lays its eggs and rears its young; fishing from the low branches of trees which overspread the water. When the fish is caught it is beaten to death against some hard substance and then swallowed whole, head foremost. The Common Kingfisher is somewhat larger than the lark, and has a beautiful metallic coat which shimmers with a very pleasing effect as it darts among the greenery of the river bank or flies along the surface of the water. The Laughing Kingfisher belongs to Australia and is so named from its peculiar cry. It is one of the largest species of its kind. Other species belong to the Moluccas and New Guinea, and a few to America.