restricted access Aquatic kingfishers
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Pied Kingfisher L: 25 cm (10") This is a large, crested, black-and-white, waterloving kingfisher . The male has two complete black bands across the upper chest; the female has a single broken band . An explosive metallic chattering draws attention to pairs and small groups, which are commonly encountered on Kruger’s waterbodies . Pied Kingfishers are excellent fish hunters, seeking prey from perches or by hovering over the water, but they will also eat invertebrates . They dig nests in riverbanks, either solitarily or in loose colonies, and can breed co-operatively . Helpers from the previous year’s breeding attempt assist the adults with feeding and territory defence, which significantly improves the chicks’ chances of survival . Nests are sometimes raided by snakes, monitors and Water Mongoose . Malachite Kingfisher L: 14 cm (5·5") This is a tiny, dazzling kingfisher – an ultramarine and orange jewel with a red bill . It is always found close to water, unlike the similar African PygmyKingfisher (not illustrated), which favours woodland and differs in its head coloration: lilac ear patch and an orange eyebrow . It is a common resident, usually seen perched on a rush or reed along the edge of a waterbody, normally less than a metre above the water’s surface . Hunts from a perch and can only penetrate the upper few centimetres of the water, where it takes fishes, tadpoles and invertebtates . Kingfishers are large-headed, long-billed, short-tailed and shortlegged birds that perch upright; some, but not all, are associated with water (see pages 94–95 for the non-aquatic kingfishers). groups, which are commonly encountered on or by hovering over the water, but breeding attempt assist the Aquatic kingfishers male female 52 Giant Kingfisher L: 44 cm (17") A very large, chunky, black, white and chestnut kingfisher, with a huge, dagger-like black bill and small crest . Sexes differ in the positioning of the chestnut: on the male it is on the upper breast; on the female the chestnut is on the belly, vent and underwing coverts . This kingfisher is a conspicuous resident on large rivers and wetlands throughout Kruger, often drawing attention with raucous and rapidly repeated “kek” and “kakh” calls . It often hunts crabs, dismembering them with its large bill, but will also take fishes, frogs and invertebrates . BIRDS OF RIVERS AND WETLANDS male female pied kingfisher giant kingfisher 53 ...