Over the weekend I spent some time working on the Malechite Kingfisher painting, the blocking in stage of the bird is now completed, next after a few days when the oils are dry I will start working on the darker colors and feather details to eventually complete this painting in the near future.
I thought it appropriate to share some info on this very attractive little (size 14cm) kingfisher which is very common in Southern Africa and the very Northern and Southern tips of Namibia. Malachite kingfishers (Alcedo cristata) depend on a specifically aquatic habitat which could include well-vegetated, slow-flowing rivers and streams, and in particular those waterways that do not have an overhanging tree canopy. Wooded banks with nearby thickets and reed and papyrus marshes are also a favourite. Malachite kingfishers can be found singly or in pairs. If disturbed from their perch, they will fly fast and furious for a short distance low over the water before re-perching not more than 1m over the water on a feature such as a tree stump, wire, rock or vegetation.
Malachite kingfishers will sit motionless so as not to alarm their prospective prey, staring into the water only turning to look in the other direction for food. Their diet consists of small fish, frogs, tadpoles, water beetles, dragonflies, beetles, grasshoppers, prawns and crabs and lizards. They breed along small watercourses with steep banks, a favourite for nesting purposes, lay between 3 and 6 eggs in the low water season of October to May. Incubation periods are around 14 to 16 days.