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Grey-headed Kingfisher - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by mikemik
Manyara Park, Tanzania, May, 2018

Alternative name: Grey-hooded Kingfisher

Halcyon leucocephala


Length 20-22 cm (7¾-8½ in).
A medium-sized kingfisher with a grey head and chestnut belly.


Photo © by John Dempsey
East Tsavo reserve, Kenya, August 2005

Sub-Saharan Africa and Arabian Peninsula:
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Zaire
Eastern Africa: Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, eSwatini
African Islands: Cape Verde
Middle East: Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Yemen



Photo © by Mybs
Kruger National Park, South Africa, January 2008

Halcyon leucocephala has five subspecies:[1]

H. l. acteon
H. l. semicaerulea
H. l. leucocephala
H. l. hyacinthina
H. l. pallidiventris


Found close to water in West Africa; in East Africa they seem to favour open woodland, often some distance from water. Bushy grassland, thickets and parks.



Feeds mainly on insects taken on or near the ground; also eats fish, frogs, grasshoppers, reptiles, small mammals and birds (including Bronze Mannikin, Red-throated Wryneck and chicks of Red-billed Quelea, White-eared Barbet and Black-collared Barbet).


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved October 2015)
  4. BF Member observations

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