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Three Star Grading

Tourism Grading Council
South Africa





 

 

 

 

 

 



Birds of South Africa

Click on Links below to see info of South African and St. Lucia Bird Species
African Crowned Eagle| African Fish Eagle| Black Shouldered Kite| Blue Crane| Great White Pelican| Malachite Kingfisher| Purple Crested Lourie| Secretary Bird| Spotted Eagle Owl| Verreaux's (Black) Eagle|

Common Name: Malachite Kingfisher

Scientific Name: The Malachite Kingfisher is a river king

Description:

The Malachite Kingfisher is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate related movements. The general colour of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face cheeks and under parts is rufous and there are white patches on the throat and rear neck sides. The bill is black in young birds and reddish orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult. This is a common species of reeds and rank vegetation near slow moving water or ponds. The flight of the Malachite Kingfisher is rapid, the short rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water. There is a closely related species in Madagascar, the Madagascar Malachite Kingfisher, or Malagasy Kingfisher, (Alcedo vintsiodes). This has a black bill and greenish crest, and is not quite as dependent on water as the African species. It is otherwise similar in plumage and behaviour to the more widespread species.

Bird

Pictures: Courtesy of South African Tourism!

Size:

This is a small bird, 13 cm in height.

Area:

Widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara, a common species of reeds and rank vegetation near slow moving water or ponds is where you will find them. Malachite Kingfisher has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

Habits:

These birds are strictly aquatic but avoid areas where there is a closed canopy over the water, so, for example, they are not found around slow moving streams which meander through dense woodland or forest. When disturbed they fly fast and very low over water in a direct line to their next perch. The sexes are similar and the birds nest in holes excavated by both sexes in earth (they will utilise river banks, earth banks on roads, well shafts, disturbed earth thrown up around the root systems of fallen trees and even Aadvark lairs. They are monogamous and also territorial.

Nesting:

Both birds excavate. Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached. There is no nest, but three or four clutches of 3-6 round white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets. The call of this kingfisher is then a short shrill seek. The breeding song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui

Food:

The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive. Large food items are beaten on a bough or rail; small fish and insects are promptly swallowed. A fish is usually lifted and carried by its middle, but its position is changed, sometimes by tossing it into the air, before it is swallowed head downwards. Fish, aquatic insects and crustaceans are eaten. The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually, though not always, over water. .