Malachite Kingfisher .. A Bulldog Swan song.

Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata)

I cannot tell you how long I’ve tried to get a photo of this bird, but at 5 inches, tail to beak tip, you got to be lucky to get close enough.

I got a photo once which was the best I’ve ever got before yesterday, and this wasn’t even in focus… a classic for the “Worst Bird Photography Ever.”

rietvlei 05-06-2012 247

This is a species common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow moving water or ponds. The flight of the bird is rapid, the short rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has a regular stand from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive. No wonder it’s called a “KING fisher”..

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both work together to excavate. the burrow inclines upward before the nesting chamber is reached. There is no nest, but 3-6 round white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is a short shrill “seek.” The breeding song is a chuckling “li-cha-cha-chui-chui.” and in case you’re not sure, the Bulldog’s bark after this capture is “Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”

Now drum roll please….. druuuuuum, druuuuuum, Bulldogs capture… (Applause… Applause… Applause)…





90 thoughts on “Malachite Kingfisher .. A Bulldog Swan song.

    • Thanks Lorna… a big name for a little bird with just so much colour… I sometimes wonder how they got these names… Mr Malachite probably saw it first…

    • I don’t think this was ever targeted by our indigenous fore fathers for the simple fact it is the most difficult little bird to see and capture… looking through the historical records of the Zulu and other Tribes that covered our land no mention is ever made of these feathers… so for that I’m ecstatic… many other birds did have certain symbolism attached to them…

    • Thank you August.. special captures for me are so rewarding… having now just over 300 species captured on camera.. the odd special like this just puts me over the moon…

  1. These photos are fantastic, Rob! I’m sorry I haven’t been visiting your blog in a while. After Carissa told me that I had fallen out of her following list without her knowing, I got to think that I hadn’t seen any new posts from you in a long time. And sure enough, you weren’t on my list any more for some reason. Now you’re back on it, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your fabulous photos. 🙂

    • Now I’ve just discovered the same thing… when I saw your comment I wanted to say welcome back, except I wasn’t following you… no wonder I,ve seen nothing from you… wonder how this happens…?? But thanks for the complement, gonna nip over to your blog to see what I have missed…

  2. Look what I found here … a colorful little bird … he must have all the rainbows color, so beautiful.
    I have seen the British King Fisher .. along rive Avon in Bath – can’t remember that they were this colorful.
    Wonderful photo, Bob … and a stunning little bird that liked to be watched by you.

  3. Sometimes you just have to SHOOT, before you miss the perfect opportunity. This is a beautiful photo of an amazing creature. Thanks for sharing!

    • The bigger Kingfishers I’ve managed to capture quite easily… this was the final one I needed and by far the smallest… so this was a mile stone for me…

  4. Colourful, fast and beautiful birds, which are extremely difficult to spot, never mind photo. Did you shoot from a hide or were you in the right place at the right time?

    • I was driving over a bridge and spotted the bird almost next to the road.. in my excitement, grabbing cameras and the rest I nearly ended in the river… but I’m so happy about finally get a decent shot I can now cross this elusive one of the list…

  5. Well done Bulldog! I tried all last year to catch a photo of a Colchester Kingfisher and failed, I will try again this year. Great pictures of this fast moving elusive bird.

  6. Oh, I love these!! But, I especially love the last one. He seems to be grinning at you saying, “Nice to meet you, too.” Thank you so much, Bulldog for all you do to bring the world to us!! **applause applause** “Yipeeeeeeeeee”

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