Pied Kingfisher at Areena
The second biggest of the 7 species of Kingfishers that are commonly found in and around Areena Riverside Resort is the Pied Kingfisher. These are the least colourful of the Kingfisher species having only black and white pied markings on the back and white underparts. The male of the species has a smaller black collar band below the broad segmented neck band while the female has a single neck band.
The Pied Kingfisher is the most common to be found around all water bodies in the country and are classed as the 3rd most numerous in the world. They are easily identified when hunting for food, as they are expert at hovering over water with the body held almost vertical and the head bent well forward before plunging head first into the water to catch unsuspecting prey in their long black beaks. Their food consists mainly of small fish, however, they will also catch crabs, prawns and aquatic insects. Food is not eaten alive and is beaten against a branch or rock before being swallowed. They are particularly noisy with a chattering high-pitched kwik or kwik-kwik-kwik call.
A suitable river bank is the most common nesting site with a tunnel being excavated by both adults close to water. Between one and seven eggs are laid and incubated by both parents for about 18 days. When food is readily available, the number of chicks is increased with chicks being fed by both adults and ‘nest helpers’ if present. Nest helpers are male birds that are not yet ready to breed or were not able to find a mate prior to the breeding season that extends from August to November in our region.