restricted access Medium-sized woodland kingfishers
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Woodland Kingfisher L: 23 cm (9") A thickset kingfisher – electric blue on the back, with a diagnostic red-and-black bill . The head and breast are blue-grey, and there are dark panels on the shoulders and wingtips . This is a common breeding migrant (November–April) to Kruger from farther north in Africa, and its loud and characteristic song, a high-pitched “tuuui”, followed by a pause and a trilling, down-slurred “trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”, heralds the beginning of the rainy season . Birds sometimes advertise their presence by sitting bolt upright, extending their wings to show a bold wing pattern, and calling loudly . The Woodland Kingfisher is not at all tied to water, feeding on invertebrates and small vertebrates in woodland, including around many camps . Striped Kingfisher L: 18 cm (7") A small and dainty woodland-dwelling kingfisher, less dramatically blue and grey than the larger species, with powder-blue tail and flight feathers, mouse-brown back, creamy collar, dark eyestripe and a streaky brown crown . The bicoloured bill is brown above and orange below . This widespread and fairly common resident is inconspicuous unless it is singing its loud, ringing, territorial “teeep-tiiiirrrrrrr”, or rollicking “trrreerrr-treeerr-treeer” songs . It favours open parkland, avoiding dense woodland and forest and feeds mainly on small insects . Birds will chase larger competitors, such as shrikes and rollers, and may even try to see off humans in their territory . When an aerial predator is seen, this kingfisher freezes, bill pointed skywards, and turns its body slowly to keep the predator in view . Medium-sized woodland kingfishers 94 Brown-hooded Kingfisher L: 21 cm (8") This kingfisher has a blue tail and flight feathers, dark brown back and shoulders, a dull, grey-brown streaked head, dark-tipped reddish bill and red legs . The similar Grey-headed Kingfisher has a chestnut belly and a ‘cleaner’ look to the head . The Brown-hooded Kingfisher is a common resident in Kruger, favouring thicker habitat than Woodland Kingfisher where it feeds on insects and small vertebrates . The song is a soft, short, descending “ki-ti-ti-ti-it” . Grey-headed Kingfisher L: 21 cm (8") A kingfisher with a sapphire-blue tail and flight feathers, dark brown back, clear ashy-grey head and breast, chestnut belly and vermilion bill . It is a widespread but uncommon spring and summer (September–May) breeding migrant to Kruger, although less numerous in drier years . This kingfisher prefers lush savannah near water . It excavates its nesting burrows mainly in riverbanks, although has been known to use old aardvark burrows . For a kingfisher, the song is weak and unobtrusive: a trilling “t-t-t-t-t-t-t” and a repeated squeaky “tsury, tsury” . BIRDS OF BROADLEAVED WOODLAND AND CAMPS 95 ...