Colouring: Iris brown; bill black; legs and feet orange to coral red; above bright blue; white eyeline; blue half collar on sides of chest; scaled blue-black on breast.
Voice: Shrill teep or tseep-tseep; apip-ip-ip-ip-peep alarm call.
Distribution: Gauteng, Northern Province, Limpopo (except dry western catchment areas) coastal regions of Natal and Eastern Cape.
Habitat: Fast-flowing perennial streams, rivers and estuaries, usually with dense marginal vegetation.
Habits: Usually solitary. Perches low down on branches or rock over water; rarely hovers. Filght fast, low and direct; after landing raises and lowers head and flicks tail.
Food: Fish, crabs, insects.
Breeding season: September to March.
Clutch: 11 white, glossy eggs.
Incubation and fledging: Just over 16 days by both sexes. Nestling: About 27 days, fed by both parents.
Both photographs are courtesy of Rob Villarini.
Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.
Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.