Jewel of the Delta

While I was trying to sort through some thousands of photos and get them into some semblance of order, I couldn’t resist putting up this post.  

Here are a couple of Malachite Kingfishers.  These are really small birds, about 14cm long.  That makes then quite a bit smaller than our own Kingfisher in the UK.  Usually, you only get to see them from a distance but at Xugana  Lodge I found they had adopted a group of branches near the water and were in reach of a long lens.  I suspect they were in the process of nest building as there was a pair.  They were frequent visitors to these branches but didn’t seem to be actively hunting here.  Nor were they bring in caught food.  So it was probably early days.  

Very attractive birds but I’d argue, not quite as spectacular as our own Kingfisher.  That was a first because just about every other bird was brighter and more spectacular that its UK equivalent.  The most surprising thing on these birds was the crest.  It’s not normally so apparent but on the second photo (taken while the bird was preening) it’s clearly mobile.  Perhaps it’s only used when displaying.  

I’ll be adding these to a ‘Kingfisher’ page on the Botswana trip soon.  Unlike the UK, Southern Africa has more than one kingfisher and many can be seen in the delta.  

Tech bit: These shots were taken on a Nikon D7200 rather than my D500.  Reason being that I used fill-in flash from the built in camera flashgun to augment the natural light which was pretty poor and indirect under a shaded bush.  Even shooting at 500mm, the built in flash gave enough light (though the lens shade does need to be removed to prevent blocking the flash).