british wildlife

I have decided that the animals I choose for my final animation will be inspired but my love of the british countryside. I have a fondness for the woodland and the lakes and rivers of the great british outdoors and want to show that in the animation I produce. To that end, today I have been researching british birds. One in particular caught my interest today and that was the beautiful Kingfisher. There were two things I found interesting about this bird, one was obviously it's plumage, the other was it's diet. It eats small fish, which gave me an idea of how I might like to use this in my animation. Imagine a predator, hungry and cold, tries in vain to eat this kingfisher. The kingfisher eventually shares it's meal with the predator, creating an unlikly friendship. Its just a beginning and something to play with but I like the idea of the contrasting animals and personalities, yet having something to link them together in friendship.

Kingfishers inhabit slow-moving, shallow rivers or streams which are clean enough to support abundant small fish. Fast-moving streams and polluted waters do not contain enough available fish, and hence do not contain kingfishers. Branches overhanging shallows make essential fishing perches.

erritory is extremely important for kingfishers all year round. Any bird that is unable to secure a territory with an adequate food supply is likely to perish. This is particularly important before the onset of winter. The birds start to contest territories by mid-September. A breeding pair will often divide their summer territory between them. Freezing weather can sometimes force the birds out of their territories, which often takes them to less suitable habitats or into conflict with other resident kingfishers.

Most kingfishers die of cold or lack of food a severe winter can kill a very high percentage of the birds. Traffic and window collisions are other known causes of death. The main predator is the domestic cat, but rats can also be a serious problem in places. Nestlings may be preyed on by snakes and other ground-dwelling predators, but kingfishers are aggressive birds and do defend their young against predators.

Known predators
  • owls
  • foxes
  • minks
  • dingoes
  • skunks
  • raccoons
  • chimpanzees
  • snakes
  • monitor lizards
  • driver ants
  • mongooses and relatives

There are relatively few records of adult kingfisher predation. Kingfishers are quick fliers, and probably able to escape most predators. Most known predators of adult kingfisher are raptors. Nest predators include foxes, minks, dingoes, skunks , raccoons, chimpanzees, snakes, monitor lizards, driver ants, and mongooses.

When threatened, kingfishers seem to employ one of two strategies; they either try to evade the predator by dodging behind trees or diving into the water, or they attack the predator directly, mobbing it until it leaves the area. A few species have alternative strategies; yellow-billed kookaburras raise their head feathers when threatened, revealing two black spots that resemble large eyes. When alarmed, young red-backed kookaburras assume a posture with their eyes closed and their beak pointed upward that make them look like the limb of a tree from above. Kingfishers aggressively defend the nest area against nest predators, often attacking intruders including humans.

One of these predators would be suitable as the second character if I was to use the Kingfisher as the first character


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