Malachite Kingfisher | Alcedo cristata

The Malachite Kingfisher is the most common of the smaller kingfisher species and is a striking and stunning bird that is an expert in catching all sorts of small aquatic life.

Robert's Birding Information: Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite KingfisherThe Malachite Kingfisher is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Alcedinidae bird family group which includes birds such as Alcedinid Kingfishers.

The description for the Malachite Kingfisher (Latin name Alcedo cristata) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Alcedo cristata can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 431 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 174. You will find a picture of the Malachite Kingfisher on page 193.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Malachite Kingfisher between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Malachite Kingfisher is known in Afrikaans as Kuifkopvisvanger.

The Malachite Kingfisher has a height of 14 cms and weighs around 17 gms. The head is coloured greenish blue while the bill is coloured red. The Alcedo cristata has a white coloured throat, orange legs and a blue coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is greenish blue.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is red.

Legs are orange.

Throat is white.

Back is blue.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult Adult Malachite Kingfisher
Female Adult Same as above.
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Malachite Kingfisher Feeding Habits ...

This birds forages for fish and other aquatic dwellers through surface sizing and diving for food in the water.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

Malachite Kingfisher Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Malachite Kingfisher is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 3 to 6 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest in a hole in the ground.

The Malachite Kingfisher is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

You can see the Malachite Kingfisher bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Malachite Kingfisher is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.