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Malagasy Kingfisher Facts | Madagascar Wildlife Guide

The Malagasy kingfisher (Corythornis vintsioides) is one of only two kingfishers found on the island of Madagascar (the other is the Madagascan pygmy kingfisher). It is a close relative of the malachite kingfisher, which is widely distributed throughout Africa south of the Sahara. This colorful bird is only 5 inches long, making it a relatively small member of the Alcedinidae family. Adults have ultramarine upperparts, rufous chests and faces, and a crown of flecked pale green and black feathers. They have white patches on their throats and rear neck sides. Their legs are orange, and their beaks are black.

Malagasy kingfishers make their home among the reeds of ponds, streams and wetlands and in tropical mangrove forests. They are fast fliers, skimming the water as their short, rounded wings whir. They perch over the water while fishing, diving their heads in and snatching their prey. They toss small fish into the air and swallow them headfirst. These birds also feed on aquatic insects, frogs and crustaceans.

A kingfisher’s cry is a short shrill seek, and its mating song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui. They excavate a tunnel in a sandy bank to make a burrow. Within the nesting chamber, the female lays three to four clutches of between three and six eggs. The white, round eggs sit on a bed of fish bones and pellets.

Photo Credit: Francesco Veronesi from Italy [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
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