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See detailThe impact of soil texture on the selection of nesting sites by the Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedinidae: Alcedo cristata Pallas 1764)
Kisasa Kafutshi, Robert ULg; Aloni Komanda, Jules

in Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology (2011), 82(3), 243-246

The first granulometrical analysis of soil samples from nesting banks of the Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata is reported. In total 56 samples from the Kinshasa area were analysed. Three standardised ... [more ▼]

The first granulometrical analysis of soil samples from nesting banks of the Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata is reported. In total 56 samples from the Kinshasa area were analysed. Three standardised particle size fractions were determined in all groups of samples (percentage of sand, clay and silt). Mean particle percentage of soil samples from banks occupied by Malachite Kingfishers averaged 10.8 ± 6.1 of silt, 11.6 ± 6.5 of clay and 81.4 ± 11.4 of sand. A significant difference was found in the proportion of clay between banks with and without kingfisher nests. The results of the present study hence suggest that, as has been documented in other burrowing bird species, soil texture determines the selection of nesting sites in the Malachite Kingfisher. Our results indicate that even a slight difference in the proportion of clay can substantially affect the suitability of banks for the establishment of nests. In fact, burrowing birds must find suitable soils whose structure allows for a good compromise between stability and hardness to dig out, which poses an energy challenge just before the breeding season. [less ▲]

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See detailFood niche segregation between the Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata, and the Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis, at Lake Nokoué, Bénin
Libois, Roland ULg; Laudelout, Arnaud

in Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology (2004), 75

Several species of kingfisher occur on Lake Nokoué, southern Bénin, including Malachite (Alcedo cristata) and Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). Here, we compare their diet and estimate the degree of ... [more ▼]

Several species of kingfisher occur on Lake Nokoué, southern Bénin, including Malachite (Alcedo cristata) and Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). Here, we compare their diet and estimate the degree of overlap in food niche by analysing contents of regurgitated pellets collected near nesting sites of Pied Kingfishers or inside the nest chambers of Malachite Kingfishers. Characteristic fish skull bones were identified using a reference collection of local fish skeletons. Malachite Kingfishers feed most frequently on fish that occur around floating vegetation, mainly Kribia sp. (56%), Hemichromis fasciatus (28%) and Sarotherodon melanotheron (8%). Important differences were found between different pairs, and between adults and nestlings, the latter being fed almost exclusively on Kribia sp. Larger fish are fed to nestlings than are eaten by the adults. Pied Kingfishers prey upon 14 different fish species, some of them being caught in the pelagic region of the lake, particularly clupeids taken by hovering. By comparison with Malachite Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers feed on a wider diversity of prey, and take larger fish, so that the dietary overlap between the species is relatively low (O = 0.181). [less ▲]

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