The Woodland Kingfisher
) is a tree kingfisher
The tree kingfishers or wood kingfishers, family Halcyonidae, are the most numerous of the three families of birds in the kingfisher group, with between 56 and 61 species in around 12 genera, including several species of kookaburras. The family appears to have arisen in Indochina and the Maritime...
This is a medium-sized kingfisher, 20–23 cm in length. The adult has a bright blue back, wing panel and tail. Its head, neck and underparts are white, and its shoulders are black. The flight of the Woodland Kingfisher is rapid and direct. The large bill has a red upper mandible and black lower mandible. The legs are bright red. Some birds may have greyish heads, causing confusion with Mangrove Kingfisher.
However, the lores are dark, creating a dark stripe through the eye (the stripe does not extend through the eye in Mangrove Kingfisher), and the underwing, primaries and secondaries are black with white underwing coverts (there is a black carpal patch on the white coverts in Manrgove Kingfisher). The inner webs of the base of the flight feathers are white, creating an indistinct white wingbar (white completely absent from wings in Mangrove Kingfisher). The breast is white (tends to be much greyer in Mangrove Kingfisher). The sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller than adults and have a brown bill.
Distribution and habitat
The Woodland Kingfisher is widely distributed in tropical Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...
south of the Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...
and from Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...
northwards . This kingfisher
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 Australia...
is essentially resident within 8° of the equator, but northern and southern populations are migratory
Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...
, moving into the equatorial zone in the dry season.
It is a common species of a variety of wooded habitats with some trees, especially Acacia
Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described in Africa by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1773. Many non-Australian species tend to be thorny, whereas the majority of Australian acacias are not...
s, including around human habitation. Although it is a "kingfisher", it prefers drier habitats in more traditional woodland and can be far from water. It is often solitary but can occur in small groups.
The Woodland Kingfisher is aggressively territorial, attacking intruders including humans. It has a striking display in which the wings are spread to show the white linings.
The nest is a tree hole excavated by a woodpecker
Woodpeckers are near passerine birds of the order Piciformes. They are one subfamily in the family Picidae, which also includes the piculets and wrynecks. They are found worldwide and include about 180 species....
American barbets, family Capitonidae, are near passerine birds of the order Piciformes which inhabit humid forests in Central and South America. They are closely related to the toucans....
. A single clutch of three round white eggs is typical.
It hunts from an exposed perch, often on a dead branch of a tree, or perches quietly in semi-shade while seeking food.
The call of this noisy kingfisher is a loud trill sounding like a nail run down the teeth of a comb.