Colouring: Iris brown; bill, gape and wattle around eye bright blue to greenish blue, billtip blackish; mouth greenish yellow; legs and feet bluish slate; whole head, crest, mantle, throat and breast metallic greenish black; rest of upperparts and tail bright orange-rust; rest of underparts grey, shading to white on belly.
Voice: Song quick rippling phrase of piping notes tzzee switty-sweety-tsweep-sweepy-taweep, and variations; raspy zweet-zwayt or zweet-zweet-zwayt alarm call.
Habitat: Riverine and coastal forest, forest edge, thickets in savanna and other types of woodland, gardens, exotic plantations.
Distribution: Widespread in southern Africa, except in highest and drier parts.
Habits: Solitary or in pairs. Hawks insects in quick sallies from perch; flight undulating and graceful; looks like swooping orange rocket. Quite vocal, often detected by first voice, despite bright coloration; tame but unobtusive. Bathes by plunge-diving into water.
Breeding season: Mainly October to January.
Incubation and fledging: Incubation: 7-15 days. Nestling: 10-12 days; fed by both parents; dependent on parents for at least one week after leaving nest. Clutch: 2-3 creamy or pinkish white eggs, sparingly spotted with reddish brown in zone around thick end.
Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sesde Uitgawe. 1993.
Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.