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. 1900, p. 103 [Zambesi] ; Marshall, ibid. p. 249 [Mashonaland] .

" Isivuba " of Natal Zulus.

Description. Male. General colour above black, darker on the
head, rather more slaty on the back and wings, head crested ; above
everywhere, including the wings and tail, covered with round white
spots, those of the tail arranged in regular order and almost form-



ALCEDINID^J CEEYLE 77

ing a series of transverse bars ; a spot in front of the eye, a line
of feathers from the base of the lower mandible, and the throat all
white, rest of the side of the face and a line of spots on either side
of the throat black ; lower throat and breast rich rufous, abdomen
and under tail-coverts white, spotted with black blotches, the spots
almost forming bands on the flanks ; axillaries and under wing-
coverts white with a few black spots.

Iris very dark brown ; bill black ; legs and feet dark olive-
brown.

Length about 17-0; wing 7-60 ; tail 4-80; culmen 3-30;
tarsus 0*45.

In the female the upper part of the breast, which is rufous in
the male, is white, profusely spotted with ashy so as to almost form
a chest band ; the lower breast, abdomen, axillaries under wing- and
tail-coverts are rufous ; the size is about the same. A young bird,
probably a male, has a black band across the chest, the feathers of
which are edged with pale rufous, the rest of the under surface
white with a few rufous feathers, especially on the flanks.

Distribution. The Giant Kingfisher is spread over the whole of
Africa, from the Gambia and the White Nile, southwards, except
in the forest region of the Congo and Gaboon, where it is replaced
by a closely-allied species or geographical race. In South Africa,
though widely distributed, it nowhere seems to be common. The
following are localities: Cape Colony Cape, Stellenbosch, Ceres,
Worcester, Caledon, Bredasdorp, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Graaff
Eeinet, Port Elizabeth, East London and Pondoland divisions ;
Natal Umgeni River, near Durban (Reid), Pinetown (Stark), St.
Lucia Lake, in Zululand (Woodward) ; Oraugs River Colony
Kroonstad (Symonds) ; Transvaal Lydenburg district (Francis, in
S. A. Mus.), Zoutspansberg district (W. Ayres), Rustenburg and
Potchefstroom (T. Ayres) ; Rhodesia Matangwe river near Bula-
wayo, Chobe river (Holub), Umfuli river (Marshall); German south-
west Africa Okavango river (Andersson) ; Portuguese east Africa-
Zambesi river (Kirk and Alexander).

Habits. This, the largest of African Kingfishers, is found along
rivers and even on the sea-beach, but is nowhere numerous and
is always somewhat shy and wary. Layard states that it is
migratory in the Colony ; if this is so its migrations can only be of
small extent, as it has been obtained in the south-western districts
in nearly all the months of the year, and it is also a resident in
Natal.



78 ALCEDINID.E ALCEDO

This bird is somewhat sociable, three or four being often found
together; they are very noisy, chattering and screaming loudly
over their fishing, which they conduct in much the same fashion
as the Pied Kingfisher ; they do, however, not appear to be so par-
ticular in their diet, crabs, frogs and reptiles as well as fishes being
equally relished. The first observer to notice their breeding habits
appears to be Mr. Walter Ayres who giyes the following account :
" One of their nests was discovered by my Boer driver in a per-
pendicular bank of a' little stream running into the Letaba (in the
Zoutspansberg district of the Transvaal) at the drift ; it was in a
hole about four feet from the top of the bank, and, from below, a
man standing in the water up to his middle could just reach it.
The place was an awkward one to get at, especially as there were
crocodiles about ; however, my driver and a Kaffir, by digging with
a spade to a considerable depth managed to get the nest. The
Boer put his arm into the hole and felt the eggs ; he also felt the
old bird, not sitting on the eggs but a little to one side, where it
remained and allowed itself to be caught. This proved to be the
male bird. The eggs were four in number and white." This nest
was found in August. Mr. Marshall also found a nest in September
on the Umfuli river in Mashonaland.



Genus II. ALCEDO.

Type.
Alcedo, Linn. Syst. Nat. 12th ed. i, p. 178 (1766) A. ispida.

Bill long and compressed, the culmen, which is marked off by a
slight groove, rounded and not flattened, head slightly crested ; wing
pointed, the third and fourth primaries the longest ; tail very short
and rounded, shorter than the culmen ; hallux and inner toe
approximately equal ; always with metallic-blue on the back ; sexes
more or less alike. This genus is found throughout the Old World
except Australia and Polynesia. Three species inhabit Africa, only
one of which is found within our limits.



414. Alcedo semitorquata. Half-collared Kingfisher.

Alcedo semitorquata, Swains. Zool. Illustr. iii, pi. 151 (1823) ; Grill, K.
Vet. AJcad. Handl Stockholm, ii, no". 10, p. 46 (1858) [Knysna] ; P. L,
Sclater, P. Z. S. 1866, p. 22 [Windvogelberg] ; Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 65
(1867) ; id. Ibis, 1869, p. 364 ; Sharpe, Monogr. Alced. p. 27, pi. 7 (1869) ;



ALOBDINID2B



ALCEDO



79




FIG. 29. Alcedo semitorquata.



80 ALCEDINID.SJ ALCEDO

Gurney in Andersson's B. Damaraland, p. 58 (1872) ; Sharpe, ed.
Layard's B. S. Afr. pp. 107, 806 (1875-84) ; Ayres, Ibis, 1879, p. 291
[Rustenburg] ; Shelley, Ibis, 1882, p. 244 [Mashonaland] ; Butler, Feilden,
<& Reid, Zool. 1882, p. '206 [Newcastle dist.] ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xvii,
p. 153 (1892) ; Kendall, Ibis, 1896, p. 167 ; Shelley, B. Afr. i, p. 116
(1896) ; Sharpe, Ibis, 1897, p. 497 [Eshowe] ; Woodward Bros. Natal
B. p. 91 (1899) ; Marshall, Ibis, 1900, p. 249 [Umfuli river].

Alcedo quadribrachys, (nee Bp.} Gurney, Ibis, 1859, p. 245, 1873, p. 258.

" Blauw Vischvanger " of Dutch.



Description. Male. Crown and nape dark blue banded with
brighter blue ; sides of the head above the ear-coverts a rich bright
blue ; mantle, rump and upper tail-coverts cobalt-blue ; scapulars
and wings a duller more greenish shade with brighter tips to the
coverts ; wing-quills dusky, edged with greenish-blue ; tail-feathers
bright blue ; lores black with a yellowish-white spot above, ear-
coverts pale fulvous, cheeks greenish-blue ; throat white, rest of the
lower surface and under wing- coverts fulvous ; on either side of the
breast a blue patch.

Iris and bill black ; legs and feet bright red.

Length about 7'0 ; wing 3-20 ; tail 1-4 ; culmen 1-70 ; tarsus 0-4.

In the female the base of the lower mandible is red ; the young
bird is greener in colour and the feathers on the chest are tinged
with black forming a slight barring.

Distribution. This little Kingfisher is found throughout the
southern and eastern portions of South Africa from Cape Town to
Mashonaland, but does not seem to extend to the high central
plateau and drier western portion of our area. Beyond the Zambesi
it ranges through Nyasaland and East Africa as far north as
Abyssinia. The following are South African localities : Cape
Colony Cape, Swellendam, Knysna, Port Elizabeth, Albany,
Bathurst, Peddie, Stockenstroom, Cathcart (i.e., Windvogelberg),
East London and Pondoland divisions ; Natal near Durban (Brit.
Mus.), Newcastle (Keid) and Eshowe in Zululand (Woodward) ;
Transvaal Barberton (Eendall), Rustenburg (Ayres) ; Rhodesia
Umfuli river (Ayres and Marshall).

Habits. This bird appears to resemble other Kingfishers in its
habits ; it is found along rivers and sometimes on the seashore,
where it obtains the small fishes or sometimes crabs which form its
diet ; it darts on its prey from a fixed perch and does not hover
like the Pied Kingfisher ; it has a shrill but not unpleasant cry.



ALCEDINID^] CORYTHORNIS 81

The Woodwards state that it adopts the burrow of a rat or other
rodent in a hard bank in which to lay its eggs, but they give no
further details. Mr. W. Atmore states that it lays three white
polished eggs in a hole in a river bank.



Genus III. CORYTHORNIS.

Type.
Corythornis, Kaup, Fam. Eisv. p. 10 (1848) .............. C. galerita.

This genus differs from Alcedo in .having a much longer crest,
the anterior feathers of which reach to beyond the occiput ; the
wings too are a good deal more rounded, the difference between the
length of the primaries and secondaries being less than the length
of the tarsus. In other respects it resembles Alcedo.

Three species are recognised, all confined to Africa, including
Madagascar.



st+

415. Corythornis cyanostigma. Malachite Kingfisher.

Alcedo cristata (nee Linn.), Kittl. Kupf. Vog. pi. 29, fig. 3 (1833) ;
Kirk, Ibis, 1864, p. 325 [Zambesi] ; Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 65 (1867).

Alcedo cyanostigma, Eupp. Neue Wirb. Vog. p. 70, pi. 24, fig. 2 (1835
40) ; Grill, K. Vet. Akad. Handl Stockholm, ii, no. 10, p. 46 (1858).

Corythornis cristata, Gnrney, Ibis, 1859, p. 245 [Natal]; P. L. Sclater,
P. Z. S. 1866, p. 22 [Cathcart div.] ; Sharpe, Monogr. Alced. p. 35,
pi. ii (1869) ; Ay res, Ibis, 1879, p. 291 [Eustenburg and Potchcf-
stroom] ; Holub <& Pelz. Orn. Siid-Afrikas, p. 63 (1882).

Corythornis cyanostigma, Bucldey, Ibis, 1874, p. 364 ; Shelley, Ibis,
1875, p. 68 [Durban] ; Sharpe, ed. Layards B. S. Afr. pp. 108, 806
(1875-84) ; Barratt, Ibis, 1876, p. 198; Ayres, ibid. p. 425 [Lyden-
burg]; Gates, Matabeleland, p. 303 (1881); Butler, Feilden, and
Reid, Zool. 1882, p. 206 ; Shelleij, Ibis, 1882, p. 244 [Mashonaland] ;
Symonds, Ibis, 1887, p. 327 [Kroonstad] ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xvii,
p. 163 (1892) ; Shelley, B. Afr. i, p. 116 (1896) ; Sharpe, Ibis, 1897,
p. 497 [Zululand] ; Woodward Bros. Natal B. p. 92 (1899) ; Alex-
ander, Ibis, 1900, p. 103 [Zambesi] ; Marshall, ibid. p. 249 [Mashona-
land].

"Intangaza" of Matabele (Ayres).

Description. Adult male. Crown crested, the feathers being
transversely banded with black and greenish-blue ; sides of the
head, nape, and rest of the upper surface ultramarine-blue with
6 VOL. in.




82 ALCEDINID.E CORYTHOKNIS

a shade of violet ; quills dusky ; tail like the back ; throat and a
line of feathers on the side of the neck behind the ear-coverts white ;
a frontal patch, ear-coverts, cheeks and rest of the under surface
including the axillaries and under wing-coverts a rich rufous-buff.

Iris brown ; bill and legs coral-red.

Length in the flesh 5'90 ; in the skin 5-40 ; wing 2-3 ; tail 1-0 ;
culmen 1'35; tarsus 0'30.

The adult female resembles the male. In the young bird both
male and female, the back is more blackish and the blue is cobalt
rather than ultramarine and tips the black feathers ; below, the ear-
coverts and cheeks are darker and spotted with black, the chest also
is a duskier brown; bill black and much shorter; culmen only
measuring about 1 inch ; feet blackish tinged with red.




FIG. 3Q.Corythornis cyanostigma. x .

Distribution. The Malachite Kingfisher is found throughout the
greater part of Africa south of the Sahara from Senegambia and
Abyssinia (whence came Eiippell's type) to the Colony and Natal.

In South Africa it occurs abundantly, and as a resident where-
ever there are suitable localities as follows : Cape Colony Cape,
Malmesbury, Oudtshoorn and Knysna (Victorin), Stockenstroom
(Atmpre), Cathcart (Boulger), Port Elizabeth, Peddie, East London,
Pondoland and Upington in Gordonia"; Natal Durban (Shelley),
Pinetown (Stark), Newcastle (Butler), and Eshowe (Woodward) ;
Orange Eiver Colony Valsch river at Kroonstad (Symonds) ;
Transvaal Lydenburg, Eustenburg, and Potchefstroom (Ayres) ;
Ehodesia Sibanani west of Bulawayo (Gates), near Victoria Falls
(Holub), Quae Quae and Umfuli rivers (Ayres) ; Portuguese east
Africa along the Zambesi (Kirk and Alexander).

Habits. This beautiful little bird is fairly abundant throughout



ALCEDINHXE ISPIDINA 83

the Colony and frequents not only rivers and streams, but also pools
and swamps ; it may often be seen, usually alone, sitting on reeds
or on low branches of bushes closely overhanging the water whence
it darts at its prey below. It feeds on fresh-water Crustacea, beetles,
and other insects as well as fish, and is stated by Buckley to Swim
very well. The nest was found on the Berg river in September by
Layard ; it was situated in a bank, and consisted of a rounded
chamber, at the end of a hole two or three feet deep bored in
loose soil and running somewhat upwards so as to obtain a perfect
drainage ; the eggs, from four to six in number, are laid on a mass of
fish bones and scales, probably castings ; they are rounded, glisten-
ing and white, and so delicate and transparent that the yellow
yolk shows plainly through when fresh. They measure about 0-75
x 0-60.



Genus IV. ISPIDINA.

Type.
Ispidina, Kaup, Fain. Eisv. p. 11 (1848) I. picta.

Bill comparatively short and stout, culmen not ridged but some-
what rounded and not separated by a groove from the rest of the
bill ; no strong crest ; wings and feet as in Corythornis. This is
a genus of small Kingfishers containing four species, all of which are
confined to Africa and Madagascar.



416. Ispidina natalensis. Natal Kingfisher.

Alcedo natalensis, Smith, S. Afr. Quart. Journ. no. 5, p. 14 (1831) ;
Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 66 (1867).

Ispidina picta (nee Bodd.), Gurney, Ibis, 1859, p. 246 [Natal].

Halcyon cyanotis (nee Swains.), Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 64 (1867).

Ispidina natalensis, Sharpe, Ibis, 1869, pp. 281, 283 ; id. Monogr. Alced.
p. 145, pi. 52 (1869) ; Shelley, Ibis, 1875, p. 69 [near Durban] ; Sharpe,
ed. Laijm-d's B. S. Afr. pp. 113, 807 (1875-84) ; Butler, Feilden, and
Reid, Zool. 1882, p. 207 [Colenso] ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 193
(1892) ; Shelley, B. Afr. i, p. 116 (1896) ; Sharpe, Ibis, 1897, p. 497
[Zululand] ; Woodward Bros. Natal B. p. 92 (1899) ; Millar, Zool.
1899, p. 148 ; Alexander, Ibis, 1900, p. 104 [Zambesi].

" Isipigileni" of the Natal Zulus.

Description. Adult. General colour above, ultramarine, the
crown barred black and ultramarine ; frontal band, eyebrow, ear-




84 ALCEDINID^E ISPIDINA

coverts and collar rufous-brown washed with metallic-lilac ; a streak
of bright metallic-blue behind the ear-coverts, followed by one of
white ; wings dusky, the coverts tipped with ultramarine ; tail
dusky-blue ; throat and chin white, all the rest of the under surface
rufous.

Iris dark brown ; bill coral-red ; legs and feet red.

Length about 5-0; wing 21; tail 1-0; culmen O90 ; tarsus O30.

The sexes are alike ; the young birds have black bills and the
blue of the back is a shade of cobalt rather than ultramarine.

Distribution. The type of this species, described by Sir A.
Smith, is stated to have come from " the eastward of Cafferland."
Though hitherto not definitely recorded from within the boundaries
of the Colony it will probably be found in the extreme eastern
portion.* It is common in the coast lands of Natal and has been
once observed (by Eeid) at Colenso. From Natal it is spread
through Zululand northwards to the Zambesi, though not yet
noticed in Mashonaland. Beyond our area the Natal Kingfisher is
recorded from Nyasaland and Mozambique, but according to
Reichenow its place is taken in German east Africa by the allied
species Ispidina picta.

Habits. This little Kingfisher is by no means confined to the
neighbourhood of rivers and water ; it is often found in thick bush
at some distance away ; a favourite resort is a dry, wooded "donga"
where it perches on trees, on the blades of reeds or even telegraph
wires. It feeds chiefly on insects, butterflies, and locusts, which it
not infrequently catches on the wing ; the Woodwards also found
the remains of a crab in the stomach of one individual. Both
Millar and the Woodwards have taken the eggs from the earth of
an Ant-bear (Oryctcropus a/er). In Mr. Millar's case there was a
small hole about two inches in diameter, branching upwards from
the Ant-bear's hole about three feet from the entrance ; a short
distance along the hole was a single egg of this species while a little
further along the same hole was a nest with three eggs of the Saw-
winged Swallow (Psalidoprocne holomelaema) ; the Ant-bear in the
meantime still retained possession of the larger burrow. A clutch of
four eggs taken by the same gentleman, is now in the South African
Museum ; they are rounded and glistening white, like those of other
Kingfishers ; they measure 0*70 x 0'65.



It has been recently obtained by Shortridge at Port St. John in Pondoland.



ALCBDINID^ HALCYON 85

Genus V. HALCYON.

Type.
Halcyon, Swains. Zool. Illustr. text to pi. 27(1820). ..H. senegalensis.

Bill stout and comparatively short, its length about three times
its breadth across the nostrils ; culmen rounded and almost flattened
without distinct lateral grooves ; wing somewhat rounded, the third
and fourth primaries the longest ; legs short, the tarsus less than
tne middle toe ; tail long, far exceeding the length of the cul-
men, rounded, of twelve feathers. Plumage generally bright, nearly
always with metallic-blue.

This genus is a large one, spread all over the Old World except
Europe and northern Asia. Fifteen African species are recognised
by Shelley, six of which are included in our fauna.

Key of the Species.

.1 . Hill red or reddish-brown.
(t. Head distinctly striped, a distinct paler

collar on the hind neck.
'. Larger, wing 3'5 to 4'0 ; no black streak

through the eye and ear-coverts.
a-. Breast and flanks distinctly streaked

with black .............................. H. albiventris, p. 86.

b'-. Breast and flanks not streaked or

streaked only slightly with brown H. oriental-is, p. 89.
b l . Smaller, wing 3'0 to 3'5 ; a distinct
black line through the eye above the
ear-coverts ................................. H. chelicuti, p. 89.

b. Head uniform, no collar on the hind neck.

] . Scapulars and mantle black ............... H. swainsoni, p. 85.

b 1 . Scapulars and mantle blue ............... H. scnegaloides, p. 92.

23. Upper mandible red, lower black ............ H.cyanoleucus,p.91.



417. Halcyon swainsoni. Grey-headed Kingfisher.



Halcyon swainsoni, Smith, S. Afr. Quart Jour. (2) no. 2, p. 143 (1834) ;
L,ujard, B. S. Afr. p. 63 (1867) ; Shelley, Ibis, 1899, p. 376.

Halcyon semicaerulea (nee Forsk.), Hartlaub, P. Z. S. 1865, p. 88 ;
Sharpe, Monogr. Alced. p. 173, pi. 64 (1869) ; Gurney in Andersson's
B. Damaraland, p. 57 (1872) ; Sharpe, ed. Layard's B. S. Afr. pp.
114, 807 (1875-84); Oates, Matabeleland, p. 303 (1881); Shelley,
Ibis, 1882, p. 244 [Umfuli and Tati rivers]; Ayres, Ibis, 1885,
p. 343 jPotchefstroom].




86 ALCEDINID.S: HALCYON

Halcyon pallidiventris, Cabanis, Journ. Ornith. 1880, p. 349 ; Sharpe.
Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 235 (1892) ; Shelley, B. Afr. i, p. 117 (1896) ;
Marshall, Ibis, 1896, p. 241 [Salisbury], 1900, p. 249; Alexander,
Ibis, 1900, p. 104 [Zambesi] .

Description. Male. Crown, nape, ear-coverts and cheeks ashy,
somewhat darker on the crown, which also shows traces of slightly
browner shaft marks ; mantle, scapulars, median- and lesser-coverts
black ; primary coverts, wing-quills, rump, upper tail-coverts and
tail bright blue, the primaries black towards their ends and white
on their inner webs ; chin and throat white ; chest ashy-white ;
abdomen, flanks, under tail - coverts and under wing-coverts
orange-rufous, darkest on the flanks ; wings and tail dusky-black
below, some of the under primary coverts white tipped with black.

Iris dark brown ; bill, legs and feet red, claws dark brown.

Length 7-70; wing 3-80 ; tail 2-40; culmenl-40; tarsus 0-53.

The female resembles the male ; in the young bird the beak is
black at the tip and the base, and the throat and breast are some-
what freckled.

Distribution. The type of this species described by Smith, came
from u the interior of South Africa." The bird has been obtained
in the Transvaal, Ehodesia, and Ovampoland, and on the Zambesi,
north of which it reaches Angola, north Nyasaland and the in-
terior of German east Africa.

The following are the South African localities : Transvaal near
Potchefstroom, September (Ayres) ; Ehodesia Geruah in west
Matabeleland, December (Gates), Tati, December, and Umfuli river,
October (Ayres), Salisbury, December (Marshall) ; German south-
west Africa - Ondonga, December (Andersson), Ochimbora,
November, Omaruru, March, Omoramba, October (Eriksson in
S. A. Mus.) ; Portuguese east Africa Zambesi (Alexander).

Habits. This Kingfisher, which appears to be everywhere rare,
is a rainy season migrant, as it only occurs between October and
March in South Africa. It is a bush-bird and by no means always
found in the neighbourhood of water. According to Marshall the
stomach of one examined by* him contained a lizard, two slow-
worms, grasshoppers, and beetles.
*



418. Halcyon albiventris. v Brown-hooded Kingfisher.

Alcedo albiventris, Scop. Del. Flor. et Faun. Insubr. ii, p. 90 (1786).

Dacelo fuscicapilla, Lafr. Revue et Mag. Zool. 1833, pi. 18.

Halcyon fuscicapilla, Grill, K. Vel. Akad. HandL Stockholm, ii, no. 10,

p. 46 (1858) ; Gu-rney, Ibis, 1859, p. 243 [Natal] , I860, p. 204 ;

Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 63 (1867).



ALCEDINID.E



HALCYON



87



Halcyon albiyentris, .l//rr.s, Ibis, 1869, p. 290 [Limpopo] ; Sharpe,
Monogr. Ali-ed. p. 177, pi. 65 (1870) ; Buckley, Ibis, 1874, p. 364
[Limpopo] ; Shelley, Ibis, 1875, p. 68 [Durban] ; Sharpe, ed. Layard's
B. S. Afr. pp. 115, 807 (1875-84) ; Barratt, Ibis, 1876, p. 198
[Kustenbnrg] ; Ay res, Ibis, 1879, p. 292 ; Oates, Matabeleland, p. 303
(1881) ; Holnb & Pelzcln, Orn. Siid-Afr. p. 63 (1882) ; Butler,
Feilden, and Reid, Zool 1882, p. 207 [Ladysmith] ; Sliarpe, Cat.
B. M. xvii, p. 236 (1892) ; Shelley, B. Afr. i, p. 117 (1896) ; Eendall,
Ibis, 1896, p. 167 [Barberton] ; Sliarpe, Ibis, 1897, p. 497 [Zulu-
land] ; Woodward Bros. Natal B. p. 93 (1899) ; Millar, Zool. 1899,
p. 148 ; Woodward Bros. Ibis, 1900, p. 520 [St. Lucia bay] .

"Bush Kingfisher" of the colonists, " 'nongozolo " of Natal Zulus.




FIG. 31. Halcyon albiventris. x |.



Description. Adult male. Crown ashy-brown streaked profusely
with darker, round the neck a conspicuous dirty white collar, also
with brown streaks ; mantle and scapulars and most of the coverts
black, primary coverts blue tipped with black ; wing-quills blue
with black tips and pale ochre on the inner webs ; lower back,
rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail-feathers cobalt-blue, rather duller
on the tail ; lores, eyebrows, cheeks, and ear-coverts dirty-white
streaked with brown ; chin and throat pure white becoming a pale
fulvous on the lower breast, under wing-coverts, flanks, abdomen,
and lower tail-coverts ; wing and tail-quills dusky below.

Iris brown ; bill red, black towards the tip ; legs and feet dark
red.

Length about 8-40 ; wing 4-0; tail 2-60; culmen 1-70; tarsus 0-60.

The female differs from the male, having the back brown not
black, the crown, on the other hand, is darker than that of the



00 ALCEDINID^: HALCYON

male and is much less distinctly streaked ; the flanks, too, are a
good deal more ochreous and streaked with black shaft-lines.
The young bird is duller in colour throughout ; the head is almost
uniform, and the bill black, reddish towards the base.

Distribution. The Brown-hooded Kingfisher is found in the
more wooded districts of the Colony from Swellendam eastwards ;
it is common throughout the greater part of Natal and the bush-
country of the Transvaal, but does not appear to reach the high
plateau of the interior of South Africa or the drier western districts.
On the Zambesi and north of that river it is replaced by the next
species.

The following are localities : Cape Colony Swellendam,
George (Layard), Oudtshoorn, Knysna (Victorin), Port Elizabeth,
Peddie, East London, Pondoland, Stockenstroom and Kuruman in
Bechuanaland div. (Layard); Natal Durban (Shelley), Pinetown
(Stark), Ladysmith (Reid), Ulundi, Eshowe, Black Umfolosi river
and St. Lucia lake all in Zululand (Woodward); Transvaal
Barberton (Kendall), Lydenburg (Francis in S. A. Mus.) and
Eustenburg district (Ay res).

Habits. This Kingfisher is often found a good distance from
water. It is fond of perching on some conspicuous dead branch
not far from the ground, hence it makes short flights in pur-
suit of its prey, which usually consists of large insects, such as
crickets and grasshoppers or even earthworms and small snakes ;
these are captured on the ground. It has a loud chattering note,
somewhat like that of a Laughing Jackass, while the alarm note is
harsh and rattling. .

Buckley found this Kingfisher breeding on the Limpopo in
November, and there are eggs in the South African Museum taken



Online LibraryArthur Cowell StarkThe birds of South Africa (Volume 3) → online text (page 8 of 35)