Despite what their name suggests, the Brown-hooded Kingfisher does not feed predominantly on fish – their diet consists mainly of invertebrates, small birds and reptiles caught on dry land and only occasionally includes small fish, crabs and tadpoles. It is a bird of savannas, woodlands, riverine thickets and forest edges and does not need to live near water. They’re becoming ever more frequently encountered in suburban parks and gardens.
Brown-hooded Kingfishers are usually seen singly or in pairs (that often stay in the same area for many consecutive years) or in family groups following the end of the spring-summer breeding season. Their nests are burrows (up to a meter deep) excavated by both parents in river banks or other earthen walls, and in which the female incubates clutches of 2-5 eggs for around 2 weeks. Fully grown they measure around 23cm in length and weigh about 60g.
The Brown-hooded Kingfisher lives in Africa south of the equator, and mainly in the eastern half from Kenya southwards to South Africa (all provinces, though very patchily in the arid central and western provinces and mainly in association with introduced vegetation around human settlements in those parts). Thanks to a large and stable population the IUCN considers the species to be of least concern.