The Brown Hooded Kingfisher is certainly a beautiful sighting for anyone who loves birding but their habits are just as interesting as their appearance. We recently sat down to chat with our team of experts and they shared a few pieces of information that left us rather speechless. Here’s what you might not know about the Brown Hooded Kingfisher.

They don’t actually eat fish…

Despite the name and having all the qualities of a kingfisher, it is not a fish-eating bird. They are insectivores that feed on insects, small lizards, centipedes, spiders, scorpions and even chameleons. Brown Hooded Kingfishers catch their prey on the ground, making them still hunters. They then immobilize their prey by beating it against a tree and breaking the outer skeleton of some of their meals, making them easier to digest. After a few meals, these birds will often cough up a small pellet. This is actually leftover skeletons of their prey, expelling the parts that they cannot digest.

They don’t need to live near water

As a woodland species, these birds live in woodland areas that might be near water or far from it. They often live in holes either in trees used by woodpeckers, starlings or rollers or ones that they’ve dug into embankments themselves using their bills and feet to create a bowl to lay their eggs in. If you do see these kingfishers diving into water, this is to bathe and not to fish. The bathing is to eradicate the dust off of their feathers to allow their colours to show.

It’s all about colour for these birds

Their courtship display is also something beautiful as both the male and female perch on branches with their beaks towards the sky. They then drop their wings, call out to each other and sway from side to side, displaying their vivid colouring. As highly territorial birds, Brown Hooded Kingfishers patrol an air space so that they have enough range for courting mates.

See them up close with a trip to Zambezi Grande

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