The Malachite Kingfisher


Liwonde Game Park, Malawi … While the Malachite Kingfisher can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa the one pictured on this page was seen on a river reed near the banks of the Shire River in south-eastern Malawi. 

The Malachite Kingfisher is a wonder to behold. You may find yourself simply amazed at this multiple-colored bird or surprised to see its fearless hunting skills. In either case, this bird is one you want to seek out and observe. 

While you will most often discover this tiny bird on a fishing expedition it is not confined to simply eating fish. For a hungry kingfisher insects, frogs, lizards, or crabs will also fit the bill for the main course. However, fish are number one on their meal list and you will easily be mesmerized when you find yourself watching this tiny bird dive headlong into a river or stream, coming up time and again for a victory lap of success in catching its prey.

Everyone knows a good fisherman is most often close to where the best fishing can be found, and the kingfisher is no exception. They live close to rivers, streams, and ponds and burrow deep into sandy riverbanks to make their home. Though small they make up the difference with determination and some of the best eyesight in the animal kingdom. This fact has been discovered all too often by unwary fish, frogs, and other water insects. One thing that is quickly realized by rival birds, the kingfisher, though only about 13 cm in length can be a fierce competitor and very territorial. They usually live alone but will not hesitate to enter into vicious battles and aerial chases if challenged.

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