This week Tanda Tula added a little twist to their #trackitthursday. This week you were asked to listen to a bird call and guess what it was. The hint: these beautiful birds are plentiful during summer months in the Timbavati.
The answer: the woodland kingfisher. This small and colourful bird is easily distinguished by its bright blue feathers on the back, wing panels and tail, and its black shoulders with a white belly. While it has similar markings to a mangrove kingfisher, the woodland has a red upper beak and black lower mandible as opposed to the all red beak of the mangrove.
The woodland kingfisher is commonly found across sub-Saharan Africa and is an intra-African migrant bird. It spends from September to December in Southern Africa and then migrates in the dry season to central Africa. In South Africa it is most commonly found in the Acacia thornveld areas north of Pretoria.
This little guy is quite an adaptable hunter. However it is part of the non-fishing kingfisher group. They hunt mainly insects and small vertebrates such as snakes, frogs and even small birds. It hunts from a perch and once it has spotted its prey, it dives down, grabbing the prey and flies back up to its perch where it usually, well, beats the animal to death.