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Posted by: atowhee | December 8, 2010

KINGFISHER KINGDOM

The kingfisher family is widespread.  Many remote Pacific island groups have an endemic kingfisher.  They are great fliers, unafraid of open water.  While we have only one species in much of North America, with two more regular in south Texas, the rest of the world abounds.  There are 90 some species of kingfisher.  All have the large head, heavy beak short legs, crested head feathers and appear neckless (not necklace).

In Ecuador one boat ride at San Lodge yielded three species. Here’s a medium-large, appropriately named Amazonian Kingfisher.

Not to be outdone, Uganda yielded several kingfisher species from large to tiny.  Most abundant were Pied Kingfisher.  Here’s a pair above some nest-holes in the dirt embankment along the Kazinga Channel near Lake Edward in Queen Elizabeth National Park, southwestern Uganda.

This Pygmy is about 4.5 inches tall and the long blue crown line is his distinguishing field mark.  The other nano-beauty we found was the Malachite, named for its green chest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first Ugandan Kingfisher was this guy, sitting on antenna and fence at our hotel in Entebbe our first day in country.  I thought it was the Grey-headed, but learned it was Woodland Kingfisher.  Well-named, as it is one of those kingfisher species that do not FISH but hunt insects and other prey.

After many Woodland KF sightings, we finally got close to one.  On Lake Mbuto while we canoed past.  He first showed us his sky-blue back.  Then he decided to flutter bit right in front of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. That pygmy’s a real beauty! The prettiest ones we’ve seen were at night in Tortuguero on the canals/channels there. Looked like Christmas ornaments sitting in their trees over the water.
    -td


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