Kenya Birds

African Pygmy Kingfisher


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African Pygmy Kingfisher

Photograph(s) Copyright ©P&H HARRIS

Ispidina picta

Other Names

  English Pygmy Kingfisher, Miniature Kingfisher   French Martin-pêcheur pygmée   German Natalzwergfischer   Spanish Martín Pigmeo Africano   Swedish Pygmékungsfiskare   Dutch Afrikaanse Dwerg-ijsvogel   Italian Martino pigmeo africano

World: Widely distributed in Africa S of 15°N. It tends to be associated with water so is mostly absent from E Somalia and the SW of the continent. It is also missing from some areas to the N of the Congo Basin.

Kenya: Found mostly W of the Rift Valley in the less arid regions. Mostly absent from the dry N and E.

This is a small, brightly coloured, insectivorous species of woodlands and forests. Although it hunts for terrestrial insects it is generally found in close association with water. It prefers to perch in shady areas and, being unobtrusive, it can be difficult to spot.

The bird photographed above is a member of the most common race Ispidina picta picta, which can be distinguished from the less common I. p. natalensis by its lilac ear coverts. The latter race is present on Pemba island and along the coast, it also occurs as a non-breeding migrant in the E from April-September.

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