Teutonic Safari: Spotting Rare Wild Animals in Germany

By Lisa Goldmann

Part 10: Kingfishers All Over Germany

Kingfishers can be spotted all over Germany -- wherever there are natural streams or rivers. Zoom
DPA

Kingfishers can be spotted all over Germany -- wherever there are natural streams or rivers.

You don't always have to go on a guided tour to see rare animals in Germany. You just need to be alert and lucky. You might see a flash of turquoise diving into the water -- it's likely a kingfisher. The red-breasted bird with a shiny blue back is indigenous all over Germany. But it is choosy about where it lives. Only natural flowing streams and rivers will do. That's because kingfishers dig holes in the steep slopes of brooks and rivers to bring up their young. The slopes must be at least a meter high so that the offspring is protected from floods. Kingfishers breed up to three times per year. While one parent, usually the father, looks after the older chicks, the female cares for the youngest offspring.

So if you're walking along a stream or a river that weaves its way through the countryside, there's a chance you'll spot a kingfisher, maybe sitting on a branch jutting out over the water, waiting for food. If you're lucky, you can even witness a scene like this: as soon as a little fish comes close to the surface of the water, the kingfisher dives into the water, returns to his branch with the fish in his beak, knocks the hapless fish against the branch once or twice and devours it, head first.

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