Thursday, 23 January 2014

Half-collared kingfisher

Alcedo semitorquata

Photo by Warwick Tarboton (Warwick Tarboton)

Common name:
half-collared kingfisher (en); guarda-rios-de-colar (pt); martin-pêcheur à demi-collier (fr); martín pescador cobalto (es); kobalteisvogel (de)

Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae

This species is patchily distributed in East Africa, from Ethiopia to South Africa, and also through Zambia and southern D.R. Congo into Angola.

These birds are 18 cm long and weigh 35-40 g.

The half-collared kingfisher is mostly found in narrow streams and rivers fringed with dense vegetation, but also use fresh and brackish water lakes, estuaries and tropical dry forests.

They feed mainly on small fish, such as tilapias, robbers and barbs, but also eat crabs, aquatic insects and small amphibians.

Half-collared kingfishers breed in July-March. The nest is a burrow excavated by both sexes into a vertical riverbanks, with the entrance often concealed by overhanging vegetation. The female lays 3-4 white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 27 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be widespread and locally common. The species has declined locally owing to pollution, river siltation and habitat destruction, but it is not considered threatened at present.

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