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  • Updated 28 April 2012
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Kingfishers

"...there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band."
The first appearance of Tom Bombadil
The Fellowship of the Ring I 6
The Old Forest

Brilliantly coloured blue and scarlet birds that live by catching fish from streams and rivers, and nest in tunnels dug into riverbanks. They certainly lived in the Shire, or at least on its borders; Tom Bombadil encountered one,1 and from it he acquired the bright blue feather that he was wearing in his hat when he met Frodo Baggins and his companions (Tom had previously worn a swan feather in his hat band).

Kingfishers in Middle-earth were presumably as widespread as they are today, but apart from Tom's feather, they are only referred to on one other occasion. On seeing the dark shape of Gollum diving into a pool beneath Henneth Annûn, one of Faramir's first thoughts was that he might be a black kingfisher from Mirkwood, though it remains unclear whether such birds actually existed.


Notes

1

In the poem Bombadil Goes Boating, in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

See also...

Tom Bombadil

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