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; class Aves, order Coraciiformes)

A family of brightly coloured birds that have large heads, short necks, compact bodies, short, rounded wings, and a short tail. The bill is long, straight, and massive; the toes syndactylous. The sexes are usually alike. They are found in riverine and terrestrial habitats (the 40 species of Halcyon (the white-collared kingfisher, H. chloris, has nearly 50 subspecies), found in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific islands, inhabit dry woodland and forest areas) feeding on fish, insects, and small vertebrates. The five Ceryle species, of America, Africa, and Asia, are blue-grey or black and white. The 11 Ceyx species are blue or red with red bills and are found in southern Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Australia. There are 14 genera in the family, and 84 species, of which the best known are Alcedo atthis (common kingfisher) and Dacelo novae-guineae (kookaburra). They are found world-wide.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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