At the annual Mangrove Kingfisher count along a canal in the mangroves just south of Richards Bay, a couple of interesting points came to light.
This boat trip is organized by by Bruce Nicholson (and is not for the faint-hearted!)
By choice, most Mangrove Kingfishers roost on low branches above water (winter). As soon as it gets dark, birds settle in on White Mangrove branches that just happen to be white under-leaf, affording them reasonably good camouflage.
Most birds are clean, brilliantly white below, against the darkness of the night...
... but surprisingly, some birds go to bed looking quite scruffy and dirty.
Another muddied individual...
But, when you consider that the main prey of Mangrove Kingfisher is mud crabs, it is actually surprising that they are invariably so clean and in such good feather condition!
Recent bird counts along this 600 meter stretch of water:
2018 - 8 birds
2019 - 6 birds
2020 - 7 birds
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