Bright and Beautiful, with a lovely red beak for killing, the oriental dwarf kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) is a pocket-sized predator.
Found all over Southeast Asia where the rainforests are dense and shady, this 13cm-long creature hunts by small streams and ponds to maintain its rich diet of geckos, crabs, snails, frogs, and spiders.
It captures its meals by hovering or perching above the water, and once it spots its prey, dives deep into the water at speeds of over 40km/h.
A major challenge in taking its chase from the air to the water is mitigating the dramatic change in light refraction, which creates a lot of glare.
To combat this, each of the kingfisher’s eyes contain two foveae – a structure that’s particularly dense in light-collecting photoreceptors – and the kingfisher can switch from one to the other as it transitions into the water.