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Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Robbie A
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Re: Pygmy Kingfishers

Unread postby Robbie A » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:28 am

Just an update... I did not manage to find a Pygmy during my trip but I did speak to Frank at Pafuri picnic site about them. He said that they were pretty regular visitors in that area but he had not seen them since the middle of December when the area got very busy with tourists. His opinion was that they had moved off because of the large amount of traffic and visitors..

So the Pygmy still evades me....
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Re: Pygmy Kingfishers

Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:38 am

Biyamithi camp, in late summer. Between the 4 accommodation units on your left.
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:07 pm

Kruger, near Shingwedzi, Nov 2011:

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African Pygmy-Kingfisher by dinkybird, on Flickr

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African Pygmy-Kingfisher1 by dinkybird, on Flickr
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby RosemaryH » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:30 pm

AWESOME pics DB :thumbs_up:
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Dabchick » Thu May 03, 2012 8:01 am

I need some tips... where can one expect to find pygmy's? I know to look for malachites near water (usually extremely small blue specks on the far side of the river/dam/pool), but where do pygmy's like to be? Also near water, or sommer anywhere in the bush like "brown-hoodeds"?

I've read (somewhere) that pygmy kingfishers have a very distinctive call that sometimes makes finding them easier, ... does anyone have a sound clip that can be posted here? :pray:

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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby deefstes » Thu May 03, 2012 10:10 am

Dabchick wrote:I need some tips... where can one expect to find pygmy's? I know to look for malachites near water (usually extremely small blue specks on the far side of the river/dam/pool), but where do pygmy's like to be? Also near water, or sommer anywhere in the bush like "brown-hoodeds"?

I've read (somewhere) that pygmy kingfishers have a very distinctive call that sometimes makes finding them easier, ... does anyone have a sound clip that can be posted here? :pray:


You're right, Pygmy Kingfishers are not as closely associated with bodies of water as Malachite Kingfishers are. That's often a first hint. If you see a Malachite Kingfisher in the woodland, it's probably not a Malachite Kingfisher :wink:

But I guess that doesn't really help you. You're not interested in learning how to identify a Pygmy Kingfisher but rather in finding one. They tend to like moist and well developed woodlands, especially if there is a clearing with some grass. They're not densely populated which, combined with the fact that they're rather unobtrusive, is probably the reason they're not seen as often.

The Mpumalanga and Limpopo lowveld seems to be generally good for them as well as Zululand. Places like Pafuri, Mapungubwe, Ndumo, Mkuze, Hazyview, Nelspruit, Witrivier etc. would be good areas to keep an eye open.

I wouldn't say the call is immensely useful in helping to locate them. I can almost not believe that I'm saying that as I am a very strong believer in using your ears as much as your binoculars when you bird. Truthfully, I can only think of a couple of times when the call of a Pygmy Kingfisher alerted me to it's presence. It's a fairly soft "tseep tseep" kind of call which is easily drowned out by the plenitude of other sounds that are typically heard in the dense forested or wooded habitats where you find Pygmy Kingfishers.

It certainly is worth familiarising yourself with the call but don't be surprised if you end up seeing your first Pygmy Kingfisher before hearing it. Here are two recordings of the bird:
http://macaulaylibrary.org/search?taxon ... rank_id=67

Hope that helps.
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Dabchick » Thu May 03, 2012 10:53 am

Thanks deefstes! :thumbs_up:

Very helpful information... I'll be visiting Pafuri soon :dance: , so will keep my eyes peeled (again) :lol:

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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Gwave » Sat May 05, 2012 8:24 pm

DinkyBird: This bird suits your nickname perfectly!
Those photos are excellent, love the background & rain.

One of these flew into my window at home in East London. Got some great photos while it recovered, but they are on another computer.

Dabchick: They are tiny & fast. Good luck with finding them!
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sat May 05, 2012 8:32 pm

Rick, say hi to EL for us, we are ex-Slummies folk :D
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Gwave » Sun May 06, 2012 12:27 pm

Small world!
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Johann » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:18 pm

When visiting the Pafuri picnic site during January 2012, Frank's little boy found this beauty outside their house early one morning. We had some strong winds the night before and it looked like it might have been blown into the side of the house. It gave me a great opportunity to get some close-ups.
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Sharifa » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:02 pm

Gorgeous Pygmy Kingfishers :thumbs_up:

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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Vlakvarkvrou » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:39 pm

Beautiful photos everybody.

We found a Pygmy at Lake Panic end of May 2012.

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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby Crested Val » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:36 pm

We were thrilled to see a Pygmy at Transport Dam March 2011, but that was the period when my camera wasn't working (see TR Three Crested Barbets............!!)

They are amazing little birds, and thanks so much all you clever peeps who have managed to get a photo of them!! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Kingfishers: African Pygmy-Kingfisher

Unread postby DotDan » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:05 am

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