Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata)

Malachite Kingfishers are small, 5" (12cm) birds, with a blue-green shaggy, crested crown, barred with black, that goes down to the eyes. White neck and throat patches. Its upperparts are deep glossy blue. Underparts and the sides of the head are rufous. The bill and feet are bright red. Eyes are dark brown.
Malachite Kingfishers are often confused with the slightly smaller African Pygmy Kingfisher, whose crown does not extend to the eyes and is not crested - and whose neck is rufous, not dark blue.

Malachite Kingfishers are seen in pairs, or alone. Often seen as a flash of brilliant colours, flying over water at great speed on short rounded wings. Nests are made in sandy banks, at the end of a long tunnel, formed by both birds. An average of four eggs are laid and incubated for approximately 14 days.

Malachite Kingfishers eat aquatic prey - mostly small fish, but also insects, crustaceans and tiny frogs. They perch on grass stems, reeds or branches, always over water, waiting for prey to pass below, diving down to collect it. It then proceeds to knock larger prey on the perch, killing it and making it easier to swallow whole, head first.

Malachite Kingfishers are commonly seen in the centre, west and south of Kenya, below 3,000 metres, also around Lake Turkana. They prefer still or slow-moving, fresh or coastal waterways.

Extra Malachite Kingfisher Facts
Malachite Kingfishers have a short, high-pitched call "pseeep".

Photographed in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy, bordering Mara GR.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, kenya, kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, wildlife

Malachite Kingfisher ~ In Reed Bed

Malachite Kingfisher, perched amongst reeds, looking downwards for prey in a slow-moving stretch of dried-up stream.

Malachite Kingfisher ~ Diving

Malachite Kingfisher, diving from the branch of an Acacia tree, to the slow-moving waterway below.

Malachite Kingfisher ~ With Fish

A Malachite Kingfisher with a tiny fish in its beak, perched on the branch of an Acacia.

Malachite Kingfisher ~ Head Cocked

Malachite Kingfisher, perched on Acacia, over a slow-moving strip of water, head cocked to one side.