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Brown-hooded kingfisher

Birds of Namibia

Introduction: Brown-hooded kingfishers (Halcyon albiventris) inhabit dense woodland, riverine woodland and edges of evergreen forest, thicket, bush and scrub, singly or in pairs. After breeding, family groups will roost together for a few weeks. They perch on branch or wire in the open or in shade, but always on the lookout for prey. Pairs also roost at night in self-dug tunnels in river banks. Large prey is battered against tree trunks then swallowed head first.

Distribution: North central Namibia and the Caprivi extending east to Victoria Falls in areas that are associated with water and cover.

Diet: Varied but includes locusts, grasshoppers and crickets, scorpions, millipedes, geckos, chameleons, lizards, some small snakes, fish and young birds.

Description: Albiventris is Latin for 'white below'. They are often confused with the grey-headed kingfisher as they have similar behaviour and song, a weak, short descending shrill.

Breeding: Between 2 and 5 eggs are laid between September and December in tunnels dug in stream banks or erosion gullies, clear of overlying woody matter. Incubation periods are around 14 days.

Size: 24cm. Weight: 60g.

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