[Oversea] Common Kingfisher- Germany’s "Bird of the year" 2009

Common Kingfisher- Germany’s "Bird of the year" 2009

The Common Kingfisher is Germany’s "Bird of the year" 2009


NABU (BirdLife in Germany) and their Bavarian partner - Landesbund für Vogelschutz (LBV) - have nominated Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis as their Bird of the Year 2009. The aim of this very popular initiative is to focus peoples attention on a particular species and its habitat. NABU started nominating the 'Bird of the Year' in 1971. The first one was Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus, which, thanks to this and many other conservation projects, is no longer on the Red List of threatened birds in Germany.

Common Kingfisher feeds primarily on small fish and nests in steep natural embankments found alongside the waters edge. It was last chosen as NABU’s Bird of the Year in 1973. “The Common Kingfisher needs the clean water found in streams, rivers and lakes”, said Helmut Opitz, Vice President of NABU (BirdLife in Germany). “We decided to nominate Common Kingfisher again after 36 years because suitable habitats for the species are still scarce despite water protection laws”. Common Kingfisher is one of the species protected by the EU Birds Directive, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Moreover Member States should also implement the protection of its habitats through the Natura 2000 Network.

Common Kingfisher is also the logo of LBV who celebrate their 100th anniversary this year. “Nomination of the Common Kingfisher should reopen discussions about Germany’s failing water protection laws”, commented Ludwig Sothmann, President of LBV. “In Bavaria there are plans to develop hydropower in fast flowing rivers which could threaten important kingfisher habitats”.

Common Kingfisher is about the size of a House Sparrow Passer domesticus. Since it was first declared Bird of the Year in 1973, the German Common Kingfisher population has varied between 5,600 and 8,000 breeding pairs. Due to bad engineering of water ways, water pollution and tourism, Common Kingfisher is still a rare bird in many parts of Germany.

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