French: Martin-chasseur à tête brune German: Braunkopfliest Spanish: Alción cabecipardo
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
Subspecies and Distribution
H. a. prentissgrayi
Bowen, 1930 – E Gabon, S Congo, SW DRCongo and W Angola, and S Kenya and WC Tanzania to N Zambia.
H. a. orientalis
W. K. H. Peters, 1868 – coastal lowlands from S Somalia to Mozambique, inland to Malawi, S Zambia, Zimbabwe, N Botswana and NE Namibia (Caprivi).
H. a. vociferans
Clancey, 1952 – E Botswana E to S Mozambique, S to E South Africa (to Free State and KwaZulu-Natal).
H. a. albiventris
(Scopoli, 1786) – KwaZulu-Natal to Western Cape Province; migrates to S Zimbabwe.
22 cm; male 48–53 g, female 54–58 g. Small to medium-sized kingfisher. Male nominate race dark-streaked brown head, pale supercilium, whitish collar streaked,... read more
Loud descending “kíeu ki-ki-ki-ki”, weak trilled “tiiiu” or “... read more
Woodland, wooded grassland, scrub, forest clearings and edges, plantations, cultivation, parks and... read more
Food and feeding
Mainly insects, especially locusts and grasshoppers (Orthoptera), crickets (Gryllacrididae), mantises (Mantodea), cockroaches (Blattodea),... read more
Lays in Sept–Oct in SW Zaire and Angola; in Feb–Mar, Jun and Sept–Nov in Kenya and Tanzania; in Oct–Feb in Malawi... read more
Most populations appear to be sedentary. South African race albiventris occurs in S... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened. Widespread, and common or, at least, locally common in many parts of its range. This species’ wide distribution and its use of open habitats... read more
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