Striped Kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti)

It is a small, elegant kingfisher known for its powder-blue flight and tail feathers, dark-eye band, barred brown, and creamy white color. Solitary bird or pairs occurs in savannas, woodland, and thornveld. It catches attention with its exuberant “trreeerr-trreeerr-trreeerr” and resonant “teep-tiii-rrrrr” calls.

Read further to know more about the Stripped Kingfisher.

What is a Striped Kingfisher?

Striped Kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti) is small bird species belonging to the tree kingfisher subfamily. This bird is highly territorial and will ward off not only birds from its species, but also doves, rollers, and shrikes. Its genus name Halcyon is derived from a bird in the Green mythology linked to the kingfisher. It was said the halcyon calmed the sea and laid its eggs on a floating nest. Meanwhile, its specific name, chelicuti, came from Chelicut in Ethiopia, in which the specie was discovered.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Coraciiformes

Family: Alcedinidae

Subfamily: Halcyoninae

Genus: Halcyon

Species: H. chelicuti

Striped Kingfisher Physical Description

Striped Kingfishers are average-sized birds, growing from 6.5 to 7 inches or 16 to 18 centimeters long. When perching, they generally have grayish-brown upperpart, while its tail, lower back, and secondary flight feathers are of a metallic blue tone. Their underparts are whitish, but yellowish-brown on the breast, and brown-barred on the sides. These birds’ heads have a streaked dark brown color, accentuated by a brownish background in females, and a buffy grey shade in the males. The sides of their head, throat, and collar are creamy. Meanwhile, a black band can be seen along the back of the neck, above the collar, and through their eyes. Their bill is black on top with a reddish-orange lower mandible.

Striped kingfishers’ juveniles and immature birds resemble the adult plumage but are duller, with a darker crown, less bluish tone, dusky edges on the breast feathers, and a pale red their lower mandible.

Where can they be spotted?

Striped Kingfisher thrives and is spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa, except for its dense or thick forests. These birds love woodlands, thornveld, open savannas, and dry bushes, but will refrain from extensively farmed locations.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Striped Kingfisher

Striped Kingfishers’ diet revolved primarily on grasshoppers, and other large insects. Other food items it occasionally consumes includes small snakes, lizards, and rodents. These birds typically hunting by perching on a branch or tree about 10 feet or 3 meters from the grounds and then glides and dives to their prey once they spot any. They do the process at an incredible speed and can repeat it up to ten times in a single minute. These birds bring their victims back to their perch first before swallowing them whole while bigger preys are smashed forcefully first before eaten.

Striped Kingfishers are monogamous and will form strong bonds with their partners. However, these are polyandry instances, a mating pattern in which the female bird has more than a single male mate, has been recorded. Their courtship antic is characterized by sitting in a treetop while facing one another while their tails are raised. They open and close their wings as they sing, which includes a series of pauses and trills.

These birds don’t build their nest but will look for abandoned woodpecker nests or barbet holes and other natural tree cavities. The females will lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs, which the parents will jointly incubate during the day, while the female takes sole responsibility at night. The male striped kingfisher will feed the female, holding the food item in its bill as the female tears the prey in pieces.

Striped Kingfishers have a wide range and large population. Their species is evaluated as least concern under the IUCN Red List.



Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Chobe National Park

Linyanti Swamp

Makgadikgadi Pan

Mashatu Game Reserve

Okavango Delta

Moremi Game Reserve



Caprivi Region


Etosha National Park

Namib-Naukluft National Park

Skeleton Coast



Lechwe Plains

Lower Zambezi

South Luangwa

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park




Lake Kariba

Mana Pools

Matobo Hills

Victoria Falls

Stripped Kingfisher