Kingfishers are a family of birds with about 90 species. All of them have a large bill and will hunt by sitting on a branch somewhere and wait for prey to walk or swim by.
A Laughing Kookaburra, they are the biggest kingfishers and will take on prey such as snakes much bigger than they are. They also feed on small rodents, lizards and invertebrates.
Listen to a Kookaburra laughing here - often one will start and then the whole family group will join in, as well as any other family within earshot, it's a way to mark their territory. There's a myth that says that it's the kookaburra's job to wake all the other animals at dawn and they do laugh when the sun rises.
A Blue-Winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) - it's a male since he has a bright blue tail, females have reddish tail feathers. They are native to parts of Australia and to New Guinea. A breeding pair will have a number of related helper birds that will assist with feeding and guarding the chicks. There are a number of bird species who live that way, it increases the chances of survival for the chicks and since all the birds are related, all of them pass on at least part of their genes.
A Brown-hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris), a species native to Southern Africa. They hunt by sitting on a branch over a lake or river and when they see a fish, they plummet into the water and spear it with their beak - even taking into account the refraction of light (try grabbing something underwater while you're looking at the surface, it's not easy). Many kingfishers will hunt like that, in Europe you may be lucky enough to see a Common Kingfisher, despite their name they are rare due to loss of habitat. They need sandy riverbanks to build their nests in, a long tunnel (despite being not at all equipped for digging). And if you think that bird is colourful, look at this Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher native to Asia.
Here's another Brown-Hooded Kingfisher waiting for prey, sitting over the crocodile enclosure at Hagenbecks Tierark, where many tropical fish are co-housed with the crocodiles. If you're lucky, you actually get to see the kingfisher catch a fish.
Photos taken at Vogelpark Walsrode (Laughing Kookaburra), Frankfurt Zoo (Blue-Winged Kookoburra) and Hagenbecks Tierpark (Brown-hooded Kingfisher).
See what else K stands for over at ABC Wednesday