Grey Headed Kingfisher

© Karl Svendsen


Grey-headed Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala)

This Kingfisher was previously known as a grey hooded kingfisher.


The Grey-headed Kingfisher appearance has the same plumage and colours for both sexes, in other words, monomorphic. The adult has a black back and mantle, pale grey head, blue rump, tail and wings and chestnut underparts. The bill is red, long and pointed. The eyes are brown and the legs are red.
The grey-headed Kingfisher is around 22 cm in length.

It can be mistaken for the brown-hooded Kingfisher but the grey-headed kingfisher has a red rather than red and black bill.

Grey Headed Kingfisher Diet

The Grey-headed Kingfisher feeds mainly on insects and invertebrates.

Grey Headed Kingfisher Breeding

The Grey-headed Kingfisher nests in tunnels in steep riverbanks, where it lays 2 to 3 eggs. They are monogamous birds.
The brood parasite for a grey-headed kingfisher is the greater honeyguide.

Grey Headed Kingfisher Behaviour

This Grey-headed Kingfisher will remain motionless on a perch for extended periods waiting for any sign of movement, then bobs its head before diving onto its prey.

Distribution and Habitat

A dry country resident, found in scrub, woodland and farmland. This Kingfisher is found in close proximity to water, but is not aquatic. It is found from sea level to 2200 m.