7 Essential Words of Fall
any member of an order made up of 10 families of birds that include the kingfishers, todies, motmots, bee-eaters, rollers, hoopoes, and hornbills. Among the members of the order that have attracted special attention are certain kingfishers that plunge headfirst into water for fish and are associated with Classical mythology; according to the ancient Greeks, Ceyx and his wife Alcyone were shipwrecked at Delphi and were changed into kingfishers. The Chinese used the shining blue feathers of some types of kingfishers to decorate picture screens. Bee-eaters (Meropidae) have been accused of preying on commercially valuable honeybees, and the North American belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) is sometimes considered a pest at fish hatcheries because it preys on young game fish. The kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) has a loud, laughing, or braying voice that is commonly associated with the Australian outback, or backcountry. To the biologist, the practice of sealing the female of certain species of hornbills in her nest during incubation and brooding is one of the most intriguing behavioral modifications among birds.