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Brown-hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris)

Colouring

Iris brown; bill deep red, tip blackish; legs and feet dark pinkish red; crown brown; upper back black or brown; lower back, rump, tail and wings blue; below buffy white, washed ochre on breast and flanks.

Voice

Repeated phrase of 3-5 sharp notes, falling in pitch, accented on first note, KI-ti-ti-ti, KI-ti-ti-ti; also a long series of even louder notes at the same pitch, ti-ti-ti-ti-ti-ti...; trilling in display.

Habitat

Thickets in woodland and denser savanna, forest edge, riverine and coastal bush, gardens and parks.

Distribution

Common in southern Africa, but absent from most of the highveld and all of the dry western parts and the Kalahari sandveld.

Habits

Solitary or in pairs; pairs display to each other with open wings, bobbing, pivoting and calling. Perches on branches, post or telephone wires, scanning ground below for prey; sometimes dives for fish but less expertly than aquatic kingfishers.

Food

Mainly insects; also lizards (including chameleons), crabs, small rodents, birds (warblers, waxbills, sunbirds), small snakes (up to 25cm long), scorpions.

Breeding season

 Mainly September to December.

Incubation and fledging

Incubation: About 14 days. Nestling: Unrecorded; fed by both parents. Clutch: 2-5 white eggs.

References:

Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.

Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.

Photographed by E Stockenstroom and Gavin Orbel