Kingfishers are in the order Coraciiformes. There are 86 species in the world, but they aren't found in polar regions or some oceanic islands. Most species live in the eastern hemisphere, especially in southeast Asia. There are only 6 species of kingfisher in the western hemisphere, of which three reach North America.

Kingfishers are chunky birds. They have short necks and large heads, and many of them sport crests that they can raise. They have long beaks, short legs and small, weak feet. They're usually brightly coloured. Kingfishers are mainly solitary birds. Some kingfishers eat fishes, amphibians, crustaceans and water insects, which they catch by diving into the water head-first. Most eastern hemisphere kingfishers don't fish, and the forest or wood kingfishers may live far from water. The fishing kingfishers dig burrows for nesting in riverbanks or creek banks. They dig with their beaks and push the dirt out of the burrows with their feet.

Trogons (trogoniformes: to gnaw) may be the closest relatives of kingfishers. They are considered to be one of the world's most beautiful birds. There are 35 to 40 species of trogon in the tropical regions of the world. 1 species is found in the United States, and 23 species live in the forests of Mexico, the West Indies, Central America and through much of South America. 3 species live in Africa and 11 species live in tropical Asia. Trogons have large eyes, which are adapted to the dim light of the forests in which they live. They eat insects and fruit. Like their kingfisher relatives, they have small, weak feet and short legs. Trogons are unusual in that they have two toes turned backward.

Mousebirds, or colies,  are of the order Coliiformes. There are 6 species, and they are found only in Africa. The mousebird lives in open woodland and bushy country south of the Sahara Desert. It is a small ground bird. It can move quickly, running or hopping through thick foliage or along the ground. The mousebird is not a strong flier. It uses its specially adapted feet and strong bill to pull itself up and climb around in the thick foliage of its environment.  All mousebird species have a short, strong bill similar to that of a finch, and a head crest that is usually erect.  Mousebirds are social birds, living in flocks of 6 to 20. They whistle and call continuously to keep track of each other. They are plant eaters who eat leaves, seeds, nectar, and fruit.

What does the mousebird have to do with the kingfisher and the trogon? Well, nothing, really... it has a little crest. It has strange feet. Basically, we had no place to put it, but we didn't want you to miss it.

Read about the mousebird, and discover why it has nothing to do with the trogon and kingfisher!









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