Kenya Birds

Pied Kingfisher


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Pied Kingfisher

Photograph(s) Copyright ©P&H HARRIS

Ceryle rudis

Other Names

  English Lesser Pied Kingfisher, Small Pied Kingfisher   French Martin-pêcheur pie, Alcyon pie   German Graufischer   Spanish Martín Pescador Pío   Swedish Gråfiskare   Dutch Bonte Ijsvogel   Italian Martin pescatore bianco e nero

World: Africa widespread S of 15°N. Only absent from the arid regions of E Somalia and much of the SW.

Kenya: Frequents open waters including coastal inlets. Occurs almost everywhere there is suitable habitat so is absent from much of the arid N and NE but is present around Lake Turkana and along the Daua River.

This is a common, easily seen, black and white crested Kingfisher. It is piscivorous and fishes either from a height by hovering over open water or from a perch. It is the largest bird that is capable of a true hover in still air and this hunting method means that, unlike the closely related Giant Kingfisher, it is not dependent on there being extensive woodland within its home range. This explains it's presence around Turkana and in the far NE. The sexes are very similar and are only distinguished by the presence of 2 full breast bands (one broad and one narrow) in the male whereas the female has a single incomplete breast band. They are usually found in pairs or small groups and they nest in burrows, often in small colonies.

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