The Striped kingfisher is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa,
occupying a wide variety of open woodland and grassland habitats. Its diet
mainly consists of insects, especially grasshoppers, occasionally eating small
vertebrates. It usually nests in tree cavities, either natural or made by
woodpeckers or barbets. Here it lays 1-6 eggs, which are incubated by both
sexes. The chicks are cared for by both parents and sometimes a nest helper, who
is usually a non-breeding male, becoming fully independent soon after fledging.
Distribution and habitat
Widespread in sub-Saharan Africa,
although absent from arid areas in East Africa and much of the equatorial
rainforest belt. In southern Africa it is locally common in north-eastern
Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), Botswna, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland
and north-eastern South Africa. It generally favours open woodland and
grassland, such as savanna and miombo (Brachystegia),
Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) and Acacia woodland. It generally
avoids thick forest and extensively cultivated areas.
Its diet consists mainly of insects (especially grasshoppers),
supplemented with small vertebrates. It usually hunts
by sitting on a perch, trying to locate prey. Once it spots something it dives
to the ground, picking up the prey item before returning to its
perch. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:
Monogamous, solitary nester,
vigorously defending a fairly large territory. The breeding pair sometimes
are assisted by a non-breeding male, who helps out with incubation and
caring of the chicks.
It usually nests in tree cavities, either natural or made by woodpeckers
or barbets (especially
barbet). It also may also use a nest box, hole under the eave of a house
or even a
swallow nest (incl.
Lesser-striped swallow). If the swallow nest is occupied it forcefully takes over, killing
any chicks or eggs present in the nest.
Egg-laying season usually peaks from October-November.
It lays 2-6, usually 3-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes.
The chicks are cared for by both parents and the nest helper, becoming
fully independent soon after fledging.
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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