Alcedo semitorquata (Half-collared kingfisher) 

Blouvisvanger [Afrikaans]; Isaxwila (generic term for kingfisher) [Xhosa]; isiXula [Zulu]; Muningi (generic term for kingfisher) [Kwangali]; Mavungana, N'waripetani, Xitserere [Tsonga]; Mmatlhapi, SeinŰdi (generic terms for kingfisher) [Tswana]; Kobaltijsvogel [Dutch]; Martin-pÍcheur ŗ demi-collier [French]; Kobalteisvogel [German]; Pica-peixe-de-colar [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora >Aves (birds) > Order: Coraciiformes > Family: Alcedinidae

Alcedo semitorquata (Half-collared kingfisher)  Alcedo semitorquata (Half-collared kingfisher)

Half-collared kingfisher. [photo Arno Meintjes ©]

Half-collared kingfisher. [photo Jim Scarff ©]

The Half-collared kingfisher is widespread but uncommon, with populations scattered across sub-Saharan Africa. In southern Africa, it is most common in Zimbabwe and South Africa's rivers, streams and estuaries. Its diet consists mostly of fish, which it hunts by sitting on a perch for long periods then, once it spots a fish, diving in to catch it. It nests in burrows dug into vertical riverbanks, excavated by both sexes. Here it lays 1-6, usually 3-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes. The chicks probably remain in the nest for about 27 days, learning to fly soon after emerging.

Distribution and habitat

Widespread but uncommon, with populations scattered across sub-Saharan Africa. In southern Africa it occurs in northern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), eastern Botswana, northern Zimbabwe, central and northern Mozambique and eastern and southern South Africa. It generally prefers narrow rivers, streams and estuaries with dense vegetation onshore, but it may also move into coastal lagoons and lakes.

Distribution of Half-collared kingfisher in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Food 

Its diet consists mostly of fish, which it hunts by sitting on a perch for long periods then, once it spots a fish, diving in to catch it. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • small fish
    • Tilapia (Oreochromis alcalicus)
    • Robbers (Brycinus)
    • Barbs (Barbus)
  • aquatic insects
  • small amphibians

Breeding

  • It nests in burrows dug into vertical riverbanks, excavated by both sexes. The entrance is usually wider than it is high, and is often concealed by overhanging vegetation.
  • Egg-laying season is from July-March, usually peaking from September-October.
  • It lays 1-6, usually 3-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes, usually taking alternating 1-2 hour shifts.
  • The chicks probably remain in the nest for about 27 days, learning to fly soon after leaving.

Threats

Not threatened, although deforestation is a serious concern, as it has damaged populations in KwaZulu-Natal.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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