Twitter meltdown! A rare kingfisher has been seen in the UK only four times in a century

  • The River Ribble was near Preston in Lancashire, where a Belted Kingfisher was observed 
  • It’s a Florida native but it was caught at Brockholes nature preserve. 
  • The last sightings were in Aberdeenshire, Staffordshire, and Cornwall in 2005.

After seeing rare birds for the first time in over a century, birdwatchers were left “shaking with excitement”

Twitchers are seen wading through the River Ribble in an attempt to see the belted monarchfisher.

The Florida-native bird can be seen in the Brockholes nature reserve, Preston.

Only three instances have been reported of it in the UK, since 1908. Previous sightings were in Cornwall (1979-1980), Staffordshire (2005), and Aberdeenshire (2005). 

The belted variety is different from the UK’s common Kingfisher. It has a distinct white band around the neck.

Morgan Caygill is a birder who lives in Otley (West Yorkshire) and tweeted yesterday: “Belted Kingfisher still on Ribble this morning shaking with excitement.”

It was initially seen on the same day as a common kingfisher (November 8), but it then vanished until Thursday.

The belted kingfisher (pictured) has been spotted on the River Ribble near Preston in Lancashire

A belted Kingfisher was spotted near Preston, Lancashire on the River Ribble (pictured).

The belted kingfisher is markedly different from the more colourful common kingfisher (pictured)

The belted fisherman is quite different to the colorful common kingfisher (pictured).

According to The Lancashire Manchester and North Merseyside wildlife trusts, bird lovers should exercise caution. They stated that although this was a very exciting event and many people will be eager to see this bird in person, they urge all to take care when crossing the river.

“We hope that this bird stays around Brockholes during winter, and we will have many safe sightings.”

George Shannon of Whittlele-Woods was out fishing near Preston when he came across the amazing sight.

Shannon stated, “I could not believe what I saw.”

“I stared at it through my binoculars, trying to figure out if it was an escapee. I also tried every scenario that could have happened. I was certain it wasn’t something else but it was rare.

Blog Preston said that the bird flew some 50 metres upstream after he started shaking, fumbling for his phone in an attempt to snap some pictures.

The belted kingfisher (pictured top) was first seen at the site on November 8 with a common kingfisher (pictured bottom), but then disappeared until Thursday

On November 8, the belted Kingfisher was seen first at the site with a common Kingfisher (pictured below), and then vanished until Thursday. 

Colin Davies from York is a birdwatcher. He said that some birders were skeptical about the sightings earlier in the month, and others suggested the rare bird could be merely a large tit.

According to Mr Davies, “Before today I only had seen one photo by the original discoverer. It was so bad that some commentators considered it a great tit.”

“At times the bird was nearly as dodgy or elusive as Father Christmas. I didn’t even bother to look for it again until today. It was the first sighting of this bird in over 11 days. 

“But thank God I went, as this was definitely no great tit!”

The blue-colored males are distinguished by a single blue line across their white breasts, while the blue-colored females display a blue and chestnut border.

Belted Kingfisher is one species where the female is brighter than the male.

Their weight is between 140-170g, they are slate blue and can eat insects, shrimp and tadpoles. They have very long legs and stubby tails.

Florida’s two-million year old fossil of a belted monarchfisher was found.