Harriet Smith Photography


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AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime

Malachite Kingfisher

The extraordinary Malachite Kingfisher is a small bird, 5 inches in length.  The upper body is bright metallic blue, the bill is reddish orange, the legs are bright red and there are white patches on the throat and rear neck.  The flight of the Malachite Kingfisher is quite rapid; the short rounded wings whirring until they appear a  blur. The 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. The malachite's diet consists of fish, frogs, aquatic insects, crabs and tadpoles.

The Malachite Kingfisher is common across much of sub-Saharan Africa. It occupies a variety of aquatic habitats, including slow-moving rivers and streams, dams, sheltered shores, coastal lagoons, tidal estuaries, mangrove swamps, sewage ponds, irrigation canals, mangroves, reed or papyrus marshes, seasonal streams and temporary ponds. It normally breeds in small watercourses, with steep banks for nesting holes and plenty of thickets and reeds.

The Malachite Kingfisher breeds from August to November. It nests in a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually, though not always, over water.  Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached.

Malachite Kingfisher
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