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Grey-Headed Kingfisher, Amboseli National Park

Grey-Headed Kingfisher, Amboseli National Park

The grey-headed kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala) has a wide distribution from the Cape Verde Islands off the north-west coast of Africa to Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia, east to Ethiopia, Somalia and southern Arabia and south to South Africa.

The sexes are similar. The adult of the nominate race H. l. leucocephala has a pale grey head, black mantle and back, bright blue rump, wings and tail, and chestnut underparts. The beak is long, red and sharp. This bird grows to an average length of 21 cm (8.3 in). The song is a succession of notes, ascending, descending and then ascending again, becoming increasingly strident. The warning call is a series of sharp notes, "tchk, tchk, tchk, tchk".

A dry-country kingfisher of scrub and woodland, solitary or in pairs, often found near water, but unlike most kingfishers is not aquatic. Perches on a branch, unmoving for long periods while watching the ground for signs of insects or small lizards, bobbing head before diving on prey. Nests in holes in steep riverbanks and is aggressively protective of its nest by repeated dive-bombing of foraging monitor lizards. It is parasitised by the greater honeyguide. This species migrates at night and is often killed by flying into obstacles such as buildings, towers and powerlines.

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Photo prise le 8 juillet 2018 (© Ray in Manila / Flickr)

Voir aussi :
 amboseli, birds, grey-headed kingfisher, kenya, halcyon leucocephala, animalia, eos 650d, ef-s55-250mm, africa, chordata, aves, coraciliformes, alcedindae, halcyoninae, halcyon, kingfisher, plumage, chestnut, safari, savanna

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