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The Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) is a small bird with stunningly colourful plumage. It has very bright blue feathers on its back, wing panels and tail, with black shoulders and a white belly.

This beautiful bird is an intra-African migrant and return yearly to the Acacia thornveld. We were very lucky to have a breeding pair for the third year in a row in our beautiful garden.

Jan-Piet van der Smit took this beautiful photo of the male and female during courtship perched on a branch with wings outstretched, displaying their bright colours.

We have created and established a garden with many indigenous plants and trees, an ideal habitat for them to hunt its prey from low tree branches away from water, swooping down to catch insects as his prey is mainly a wide variety of large insects, but also other arthropods, snakes, fish and frogs on the ground. Sadly, we had to witness how the Paradise Flycatcher chicks were snatched from their nest.

We have also put a few nests in the trees where woodpeckers or barbets made holes, even wooded nesting boxes.  Both where abandoned and the breeding pairs have found an ideal spot to bring up their chicks.  As the previous 2 years, the female laid 2 which hatched after about 2 weeks. Both parents feed the chicks. The juveniles leave the nests between 15-22 days.

At Boubou Bed and Breakfast the Woodland Kingfisher call is the first welcome signal of the return of the summer, around November each year.  The males can be heard calling constantly as soon as they arrive back into the bushveld, continuing until the end of the breeding season. The call is very distinctive and unmistakable, beginning with one sharp, loud, high note, followed by a repetition of trills which gradually descend, finally fading away tjip tjirrrrr……tjip tjirrr……