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Green-and-rufous Kingfisher - Chloroceryle inda
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher - Chloroceryle inda

[Image: 640px-Green-and-rufous_kingfisher_%28Chl...nda%29.JPG]

Scientific classification
Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Chordata
Class:  Aves
Order:  Coraciiformes
Family:  Alcedinidae
Subfamily:  Cerylinae
Genus:  Chloroceryle
Species:  Chloroceryle inda  (Linnaeus, 1766)

The green-and-rufous kingfisher (Chloroceryle inda) is a resident breeding bird in the lowlands of the American tropics from southeastern Nicaragua south to southern Brazil.

The first formal description of the green-and-rufous kingfisher was by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1766 in the 12th edition of his Systema Naturae. He coined the binomial name Alcedo inda. Linnaeus based his description on George Edwards's "Spotted King's-Fisher" but mistakenly gave the type locality as India occidentali instead of Guiana. Linnaeus's specific name inda is from the Latin Indus for India. The current genus Chloroceryle was erected by Johann Jakob Kaup in 1848.
A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2006 found that the green-and-rufous kingfisher was a sister species to the smaller green kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana).
Two subspecies are recognised:
  • C. i. inda (Linnaeus, 1766) – Nicaragua to northern Bolivia, southeastern Brazil
  • C. i. chocoensis Todd, 1943 – western Colombia, northwestern Ecuador
The green-and-rufous kingfisher is 24 cm (9.4 in) in length. Males weigh 46–60 g (1.6–2.1 oz) and females 53–62 g (1.9–2.2 oz). It has the typical kingfisher shape, with a short tail and long bill. The adult male has glossy green upperparts, with white spotting on the wings, and a rufous nape and underparts. The female has a narrow breast band of green-tipped white feathers. Young birds resemble the adult female, but have more spotting on the wings and back. The eyes are dark brown; the legs and feet are dark grey.
The call a chip-chip-chip and some twittering.
The green-and-rufous kingfisher resembles the American pygmy kingfisher, which shares its range, but it is much larger than its relative, and four times as heavy. It lacks the white lower belly shown by the smaller species, and has more white spots on the wings.
The smaller green kingfisher and much larger Amazon kingfisher both have a white belly and collar.

Besides the Amazon Basin and the Guianas, also Colombia with most of Venezuela, (the Orinoco River basin), a disjunct range of the green-and-rufous kingfisher occurs on the southeast Brazil coast. A 200 km (120 mi) wide coastal range extends from central Bahia in the north to Santa Catarina, about 2,200 km (1,400 mi); a localized coastal population occurs north of Bahia in Pernambuco.
The population in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama is also disjunct being west of the Andes cordillera; it is contiguous with a coastal population from central coastal Colombia south to central coastal Ecuador.

This kingfisher breeds by rivers and streams in dense lowland forests. The unlined nest is in a horizontal tunnel made in a river bank, and the female lays three to five white eggs.
Green-and-rufous kingfishers are often seen perched on a branch above water before plunging in head first after their fish or crab prey.

Researching the kingfisher's hydrodynamic design

by Bangor University

[Image: kingfisher.jpg]

Renowned for their noiseless dive, the kingfisher's iconic beak-shape has inspired the design of high speed bullet trains. Now scientists have tested beak-shape among some of the birds' 114 species found world-wide, to assess which shape is the most hydrodynamic.
Avian biologist Dr. Kristen Crandell and third year undergraduate student, Rowan Howe, of Bangor University, created 3-D printed models of the beak shapes of several of the diving kingfisher species, at the University's Pontio Innovation Centre.
Renowned for their hydrodynamic splash and noise free dives, Kristen wanted to test the kingfisher beaks in the lab, and has come up with a top 10 list when it comes to the most efficient design. The lab tests measured how the speed of entry changed as the models hit the water, and found evidence that a longer, narrower shape was more efficient.
This also relates to other diving species such as Gannets, renowned for pulling their wings back and spearing the water with their whole body profile.
The top three kingfishers were the diving species. According to their tests, the top performer was the green-and-rufous kingfisher, a species from the Amazon basin (Brazil and Venezuela), in second place was the Amazon kingfisher, which is widespread through parts of Central and South America, and coming in third was the beach kingfisher, found only in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Britain's native electric blue kingfisher, also found across Eurasia and North Africa, comes in at 6th.
Some kingfishers forage rather than dive for food, so their beaks have not evolved to break the water so seamlessly.
Asked why this research was valuable, Kristen explained that although designers use the natural world as inspiration and that the kingfisher beak shape had been used to redesign bullet trains to remove a sonic boom as they compressed air when entering tunnels, the design solution had come through observation, but no one had actually validated the kingfisher beak shape under lab conditions.
Achieving a greater understanding of how shapes behave could lead to more bio engineering solutions in the future.
The research was published in Journal of The Royal Society Interface.

Journal Reference: 
K. E. Crandell et al. Repeated evolution of drag reduction at the air–water interface in diving kingfishers, Journal of The Royal Society Interface (2019). DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2019.0125

Piscivorous birds have a unique suite of adaptations to forage under the water. One method aerial birds use to catch fish is the plunge dive, wherein birds dive from a height to overcome drag and buoyancy in the water. The kingfishers are a well-known clade that contains both terrestrially foraging and plunge-diving species, allowing us to test for morphological and performance differences between foraging guilds in an evolutionary context. Diving species have narrower bills in the dorsoventral and sagittal plane and longer bills (size-corrected data, n = 71 species, p < 0.01 for all). Although these differences are confounded by phylogeny (phylogenetically corrected ANOVA for dorsoventral p = 0.26 and length p = 0.14), beak width in the sagittal plane remains statistically different (p < 0.001). We examined the effects of beak morphology on plunge performance by physically simulating dives with three-dimensional printed models of beaks coupled with an accelerometer, and through computational fluid dynamics (CFD). From physically simulated dives of bill models, diving species have lower peak decelerations, and thus enter the water more quickly, than terrestrial and mixed-foraging species (ANOVA p = 0.002), and this result remains unaffected by phylogeny (phylogenetically corrected ANOVA p = 0.05). CFD analyses confirm these trends in three representative species and indicate that the morphology between the beak and head is a key site for reducing drag in aquatic species.
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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