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Spot the Woodland Kingfisher

Woodland Kingfisher

Although most who visit the Kruger National Park for a safari are in search of wildlife, there is a lot of excitement when an interesting bird is spotted. The Woodland Kingfisher is one of those birds.


If you are one of those with a keen eye for birds, and you catch sight of this beautiful bird, here are some facts you should know:

  • The Woodland Kingfisher is a medium sized Kingfisher, about 20-24cm in length, and is found throughout the Kruger National Park.
  • The Woodland Kingfisher only weighs about 54-81g but is easily recognised with its bright blue back, wing panel and tail. It has a white head, neck and underpart with black shoulders.  The top of its bill is red and the bottom part of its bill is black. And it has red legs.  
  • The Woodland Kingfisher, unlike other Kingfishers, very rarely dives for fish. It will often be found sitting quite exposed, seeking out food.  They prey on a large variety of insects, arthropods, snakes or frogs.  Fish and crabs are rarely on its food list. 
  • Woodland Kingfishers migrate to Southern Africa from October to April to breed. Breeding season is usually from November to March in the Kruger National Park. 
  • When you hear the call of the Woodland Kingfisher it is a sure sign that summer is back. The constant call of the males can be heard as soon as they arrive for the summer and will continue their calls until the end of the breeding season. 
  • During breeding season the Woodland Kingfisher is very vocal and will also display its outstretched wings, which when stretched out show white linings. Their call is very distinctive, staring with a sharp, loud, high pitched note closely followed by lots of trill sounds that will gradually descend till it fades away.
  • They rarely make their own nests, instead they make use of a hole in a tree that was made by a Woodpecker or Barbet. They also frequently make use of unused Little Swifts nests. 
  • On average they have 2-4 eggs in the nest and the eggs are very glossy. After incubating the eggs for 13 days, both parents will raise the chicks.  When the young are 15-22 days old they are ready to fledge.  Both sexes of the Woodland Kingfisher look alike although the juveniles are slightly duller in colour.  Apart from the time spent breeding and raising chicks, the Woodland Kingfisher is a solitary bird. 
  • These birds are aggressively territorial and are known to attack intruders and that includes humans that dare to enter their territory. The Woodland Kingfisher can be found far from water, preferring to stay in woodland areas, often found in areas where there are Acacia Trees and that includes areas that have human habitation.

This is certainly one bird to keep a lookout for while on a Kruger Park safari. Select your Kruger tour package from our extensive selection of Kruger Park safaris and join us in the bush.


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