Rare azure kingfisher makes an appearance on Bruny

This azure kingfisher is a very rare little bird for Bruny Island and believed to be the first ever identified here. Photo Kim Murray

Watching this truly beautiful little bird diving for its dinner in a stunning Bruny Island waterway this week was a thrilling experience.

There is a Tasmanian endemic species of azure kingfishers and it is on the vulnerable and endangered species list and is usually only found on the west and south-west coasts. To see it on Bruny is super special.

Whitebait don’t stand a chance. Photo: Kim Murray.

While there have been rumours circulating for some time it is thought that this is the first azure kingfisher diemenensis ever recorded and photographed on Bruny Island. According to the books the Tasmanian species differs from its relatives in Australia by being slightly bigger.

The location of the bird, that quite likely has a mate, is a well-kept secret as it is not only on private property, but the property owners do not want it disturbed.

At first I was amazed at how small it was, a little humped over bird, with barely a tail. It sat motionless for long periods on sticks overhanging the water and does that head bobbing some other birds share, such as the masked lapwings.

Then it dived head first into the water and with deadly accuracy returning to its roost to consume its prey.

It wasn’t until I got home and saw it on a big screen that I appreciated its detailed colouring, the various blues, some irridescent, and the subtle purple tinges and the collar and eyespots and the bright red legs with two forward toes.

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