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Grey-headed kingfisher

Birds of Namibia

Introduction: Grey-headed kingfishers (Halcyon leucocephala) can be observed in a mature woodland habitat which includes Acacia and mopane trees. They prefer being not too far from water, usually on riverbanks but can be seen near dry watercourses. These kingfishers are usually seen singly or in pairs and family groups of up to 6. Although they are quite lively in nature, both flighty and vocal, they spend much of their time perching on the edge of a tree, on the top of a bush and wire, scanning the ground for prey.

Distribution: Northern half of the country including Etosha National Park, the smaller parks of the Caprivi Strip, Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Rundu and Epupa Falls.

Diet: Perch to ground for prey, usually returning to the same location to eat. They do catch fish but their diet mainly comprises of locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, beetles, moths, caterpillars, scorpions small lizards and mice. Occasionally they will go after frogs as well.

Description: Leucocephala is Greek for white-headed. Females are slightly more dull in colouration than males. Adult species are very unmistakable in plumage and identification although juveniles can be confused with the brown-hooded kingfisher.

Breeding: This species rarely breeds in Namibia. They are nocturnal migrants present in Namibia from September to May, leaving in the breeding season of November and December.

Size: 22cm. Weight: 45g.

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