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Kingfisher Alley at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge

The Kingfisher at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge – Selous, is a common sighting. This is because the Serui River runs through the lodge grounds. We have two decking areas that hang out over the banks of the river. Of the wide variety of birds that regularly use the unobstructed river as a shortcut alleyway, there are regular sightings of four species of Kingfisher.

Common species of kingfisher at Pamuzinda are the Pied, Malachite, Grey-headed and Giant. There are occasional sightings of other kingfishers such as the Woodland and Streaked. The river bank is well supplied with dead trees and something is fascinating about watching and waiting for a patient Kingfisher. All pays off when the bird dives off his perch and comes up with lunch clasped firmly in his beak. In the picture below a giant Kingfisher – Megaceryle maxima – waits his chance.

Perched on a tree branch is an adult giant kingfisher at Pamuzinda
Adult kingfisher at Pamuzinda

This year we were fortunate in that the Giant Kingfishers bred, a couple of hundred meters downstream from the Lodge. I was pleased to get the accompanying shot of a newly-fledged youngster. The juvenile kingfisher was sitting on the weir one evening when walking my Ridgebacks.

Juvenile kingfisher at Pamuzinda on the banks of Serui River
Juvenile kingfisher on the weir at Pamuzinda

 Grey-headed Kingfisher

We have a Grey-headed Kingfisher at Pamuzinda who regularly sits on the swimming pool railings. The pair bred nearby can be seen in the accompanying image below.

Streaked Kingfisher

The Streaked kingfisher is not so easy to spot as it is a small woodland species. This species does not need to seek out a riverside setting. Whilst most Kingfishers rely on aquatic life forms for the bulk of their diet the Streaked depend, to a large extent, on woodland insects for their fare. Here a parent is feeding a youngster with a beetle.

A striped kingfisher feeding a young

Malachite Kingfisher

The tiny Malachite is most often noticed as it flashes by in the sunlight showing its blue, orange and white colours off to full advantage. Even when sat out in the open on a bare branch it is difficult to spot due to its diminutive size. I often see one when I canoe up and down the river but, were I honest, I think my successful sightings owe more to the fact that I know what area to expect it in than to bionic eyesight.

Malachite Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

By far the easiest species to spot, normally, is the Pied Kingfisher. Apart from the striking black and white coloured plumage, it has a habit of hovering over the water for prolonged periods when, of course, it is out in the open and easy to see. It seems to have discovered a successful hunting strategy as a goodly percentage of its dives produce a fish.

Woodland Kingfisher

The actual, as named, Woodland Kingfisher is, indeed, a beautiful bird. I must confess I do not see them very often and it was only recently that I managed to see one at the same time as being in reach of a camera. Its Blue is almost surreal and seems to glow even when it is sat in shadow, as was this one. I have not heard it call so cannot say how that sounds. I’m sure it’s nowhere near as raucous as its larger relative the Giant. When those are in full voice you wouldn’t want to be shut in a room with two of them.

Woodland Kingfisher at Pamuzinda

There is a good chance of seeing at least one or more of these, together with other riverside bird species covered in other blog entries, on one of our guided Insect Photography Walks.

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Kingfisher Alley at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge

Kingfisher Alley at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge
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