Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:42 am

Kingfishers range in size from smaller than sparrows to slightly larger than a pigeon. They are colourful birds with long dagger like bills, rather larger heads in relation to their bodies and short legs. In spite of the name, not all species feed on fish or frogs. Quite a number feed on terrestial prey such as insects and small animals.

The aquatic species plunge dive for fish which are then taken to a perch. Large fish are beaten against the perch before being swallowed. Terrestial kingfishers may dive into water to bathe.

Kinfishers breed in hollow tree trunks or burrows in earth banks.

Southern African Kingfishers

Giant Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Malachite Kingfisher
Half Collared Kingfisher
African Pygmy Kingfisher
Brown Hooded Kingfisher
Striped Kingfisher
Grey Headed Kingfisher
Woodlands Kingfisher
Mangrove Kingfisher

Let us discuss them in the order listed above :-)

Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:42 am

Kingfisher Systematics

Kingfishers are a group of small to medium sized brightly coloured birds in the order Coraciiformes. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species being found in the Old World and Australasia. The taxonomy of the three families is complex and rather controversial. Although commonly assigned to the order Coraciiformes, from this level down confusion sets in. The kingfishers were traditionally treated as one family, Alcedinidae with three subfamilies, but following the 1990s revolution in bird taxonomy, the three former subfamilies are now often elevated to familial level.

Cerylidae (water kingfishers)
These are all specialist fish-eating species. The water kingfishers are the classic "king fishers" — they dive for fish in ponds and rivers, and are often found perched near water. These are often the conspicuous kingfishers seen hovering over lakes, ponds, and marshes around much of the globe. All Water Kingfishers breed by excavating tunnels into an earthen bank. Both parents are involved in digging the burrow, incubating the eggs, and then feeding the young. They range from high to low latitudes in Eurasia, Africa, and the New World, but are missing from Australasia.

Species indigenous to southern Africa:
Ceryle rudis (Pied kingfisher)
Ceryle maxima (Giant kingfisher)


Alcedinidae (river kingfishers)
The taxonomy of the family is uncertain at present: it includes two to four genera. The uncertainty arises from two small African species. The African Dwarf Kingfisher is sometimes placed in the monospecific genus Myioceyx, and sometimes with the Pygmy Kingfishers in Ispidina.
The Ceyx and Ispidina species are mainly birds of wet rainforest or other woodland, and are not necessarily associated with water. The Alcedo kingfishers are usually closely associated with fresh water, often in open habitats although some are primarily forest birds.
They nest in burrows and lay white eggs in a self-excavated burrow.
Across the family, the bill colour is linked to diet. The insectivorous species have red bills, and the fish-eaters have black bills. The small Ceyx and Ispidina species feed mainly on insects and spiders, but also take tadpoles, frogs and mayfly nymphs from puddles. The will flycatch, and their bills are red bills are flattened to assist in the capture of insects. The Alcedo kingfishers are typically fish-eaters with black bills, but will also take aquatic invertebrates, spiders and lizards. A few species are mainly insectivorous and have red bills. Typically fish are caught by a dive into the water from a perch, although the kingfisher might hover briefly.
The alcedinid kingfishers are distributed through Eurasia, Africa, Madagascar, Australasia and Oceania. There are three genera of which two, Alcedo and Ispidina occur in southern Africa. There are 17 species of Alcedo of which two occur in southern Africa. The genus Ispidina occurs in Africa and Madagascar and there are three species of which one occurs in southern Africa.

Species indigenous to southern Africa:
Alcedo cristata (Malachite kingfisher)
Alcedo semitorquata (Half-collared kingfisher)
Ispidina picta (African pygmy-kingfisher, Pygmy kingfisher)


Halcyonidae (tree kingfishers)
Tree kingfishers nest in a tree hole, either natural, and old woodpecker nest, or excavated in soft or rotting wood by the kingfishers.
Although some tree kingfishers frequent wetlands, none are specialist fishers. Most species are watch-and-wait hunters which dive onto prey from a perch, mainly taking slow moving invertebrates or small vertebrates.

Species indigenous to southern Africa:
Halcyon albiventris (Brown-hooded kingfisher)
Halcyon chelicuti (Striped kingfisher)
Halcyon leucocephala (Grey-headed kingfisher, Grey-hooded kingfisher)
Halcyon senegalensis (Woodland kingfisher)
Halcyon senegaloides (Mangrove kingfisher)

Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:42 am

Image Kingfisher Quiz

Re: Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:08 pm

Giant Kingfisher - Megaceryle maxima

As the name suggests the largest of our Kingfishers. Can you tell the difference between the sexes. The male has a rufous chest. The female has a black speckled chest and a rufous belly.

Feeds on fish, crabs, frogs and aquatic invertebrates. The Giant Kingfisher is monogamous. The nest is a tunnel dug by both sexes about 1-3 meter in vertical banks close to the water edge.

Reference: Oberprieler U and Burger C. The Bird Guide of Soutern Africa.

We saw this one on the low level bridge south of Lower Sabie.

He hopped on to the road and I wonderd what he was up to :-?

Image

0*\ 0- =O:


Image

At the same place we saw this one swallow a fish that was as long as her body :shock:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Let's have you stories and pictures on the Giant Kingfisher :-)

Re: Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:14 pm

A female on the low bridge at Balule.

Image

Image

Re: Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:51 pm

Male Giant Kingfisher - Rietvlei

Image

Image

Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013 removed

Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:35 pm

Female Giant Kingfisher Video: Image Image

Re: Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:11 pm

Giant Kingfisher

Image

Image :o0ps:

Image 0*\

Re: Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:41 pm

Image

Image

Re: Kingfishers - Bird of the Month June 2013

Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:32 pm

Image