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It is mainly a specialist fish-eater, although it will take crustaceans and large aquatic insects. It usually hunts by hovering stationarily over the water and dives down bill first directly below to catch fish.
It has evolved two unique strategies, shared by no other kingfishers. The Pied Kingfisher can hunt in both salt and freshwater. It can also deal with prey without returning to a perch, and can, for example, catch a second fish, or eat small prey in flight. These adaptations mean that this kingfisher can hunt over the sea or in estuaries that lack the perches required by other kingfishers.
This approachable largish (25 cm) bird is unmistakable, with its exclusively black-and-white plumage. Unlike some kingfishers, it is quite gregarious, and forms large roosts at night. It can be easily tamed.Its nest is a hole in a bank, on its own or in a colony, where it lays 3-6 white eggs. The pied kingfisher sometimes reproduces co-operatively, with young non-breeding birds assisting the breeding pair. As with all kingfishers, the nest of a Pied soon becomes unsanitary.
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