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Halcyon chelicuti (Striped kingfisher) 

Gestreepte visvanger [Afrikaans]; Muningi (generic term for kingfisher) [Kwangali]; Tshololwana (generic term for kingfisher) [Tsonga]; Gestreepte ijsvogel [Dutch]; Martin-chasseur striť [French]; Streifenliest, Gestreifter baumliest [German]; Pica-peixe-riscado [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Coraciiformes > Family: Dacelonidae

Halcyon chelicuti (Striped kingfisher) Halcyon chelicuti (Striped kingfisher) 

Striped kingfisher, Gambia. [photo Tristan Bantock ©]

Striped kingfisher, Gambia. [photo Martin Goodey ©]

The Striped kingfisher is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, occupying a wide variety of open woodland and grassland habitats. Its diet mainly consists of insects, especially grasshoppers, occasionally eating small vertebrates. It usually nests in tree cavities, either natural or made by woodpeckers or barbets. Here it lays 1-6 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes. The chicks are cared for by both parents and sometimes a nest helper, who is usually a non-breeding male, becoming fully independent soon after fledging.

Distribution and habitat

Widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, although absent from arid areas in East Africa and much of the equatorial rainforest belt. In southern Africa it is locally common in north-eastern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), Botswna, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and north-eastern South Africa. It generally favours open woodland and grassland, such as savanna and miombo (Brachystegia), Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) and Acacia woodland. It generally avoids thick forest and extensively cultivated areas.

Distribution of Striped kingfisher in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Greater honeyguide.



Recorded by June Stannard, Ndumu Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal 1971, [© Transvaal Museum]



Its diet consists mainly of insects (especially grasshoppers), supplemented with small vertebrates. It usually hunts by sitting on a perch, trying to locate prey. Once it spots something it dives to the ground, picking up the prey item before returning to its perch. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Monogamous, solitary nester, vigorously defending a fairly large territory. The breeding pair sometimes are assisted by a non-breeding male, who helps out with incubation and caring of the chicks.
  • It usually nests in tree cavities, either natural or made by woodpeckers or barbets (especially Black-collared barbet and Crested barbet). It also may also use a nest box, hole under the eave of  a house or even a swallow nest (incl. Lesser-striped swallow). If the swallow nest is occupied it forcefully takes over, killing any chicks or eggs present in the nest.
  • Egg-laying season usually peaks from October-November.
  • It lays 2-6, usually 3-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes.
  • The chicks are cared for by both parents and the nest helper, becoming fully independent soon after fledging.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.