IT IS one of the UK’s most beautiful and elusive birds but a Hampshire nature reserve could soon be flooded with young kingfishers after eggs were laid in a special artificial nest.

A female kingfisher has now laid seven eggs at the specially created site in the Winnall Moors nature reserve in Winchester.

The nest was built by Wildlife Trust volunteers and contains a camera which allows a rare opportunity to see how the animals build nests, lay eggs and hatch them.

The eggs were laid at intervals of about 24 hours, between 6am and 7am in the morning.

Volunteer co-ordinator Alex Hogg said: “Earlier in the year the remotely placed cameras rev e a l e d that a pair of kingfishers had been investigating the artificial nest tunnel.

“Initially, a lone bird was seen flying into the entrance tunnel, albeit briefly, but then two birds were seen in the same frame, confirming a pair had found the nest.”

Although not endangered, the bird is among the rarest in the country and benefits from the highest level of legal protection. .

The small, colourful bird is found throughout much of the world and is distinctive through his colourful plumage and long, sharp beak, which it uses to catch fish.

You can watch a live video stream of the nest by visiting pages/winnall-moors-r.html.