The African pygmy kingfisher is a stunning and fascinating bird species that has captured the attention of many bird enthusiasts. They are known for their tiny size, measuring only 11-13 cm in length, which is just a bit larger than a sparrow. Their rufous underparts and blue back that extends down to their tail make them one of the most beautiful members of their species. The African pygmy kingfisher is easily distinguished from the adult African Dwarf-Kingfisher because of its dark blue crown. Additionally, their face is orange with purple cheek marks and a white throat.
It is interesting to note that male and female African pygmy kingfishers look exactly alike. Juvenile birds, however, have less purple on their ear coverts and a black bill instead of orange.
This bird species is found throughout many countries in the afro-tropical regions of the African continent. They can be found in wooded areas, savannas, and coastal forests. While they are insectivorous kingfishers, they are not bound to rivers or lakes. If given the chance, they will also dine on frogs and lizards.
The African Pygmy Kingfishers have unique nesting habits. They nest in burrows that are excavated by both sexes in banks or even termite nests. These burrows are usually around 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) long, and a clutch of up to four to six white eggs is laid within. Once the young hatch, both the male and female take care of them.
This bird is not considered endangered and is regarded as of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The adjacent island nation of Madagascar also has a species of pygmy kingfisher, the Madagascar pygmy kingfisher.
In summary, the African pygmy kingfisher is a fascinating bird species that is known for its unique characteristics and beauty. With its stunning iridescent orange suit, black mask, and racket-tipped tail, it is easy to see why bird enthusiasts are so captivated by this tiny flying gem.