The beautiful Malachite Kingfisher is, true to its name, mainly a piscivore though it’ll also feed on frogs, tadpoles and aquatic insects. They hunt from preferred perches, diving into the water to snatch their prey. Its diet dictates that this species is always found near water, ranging from tiny streams and sewage ponds to large rivers, dams and estuaries, provided there is sufficient growth of plants in and along the water providing perches. They are usually seen alone or in pairs.
Nesting in burrows they dig themselves in the earthen banks of rivers and streams, monogamous pairs of Malachite Kingfishers may breed throughout the year but usually coinciding with the rainy season. Clutches of 3-6 eggs are incubated for 2 weeks by both parents, with the chicks fledging when they’re between 3 and 4 weeks old. They start fishing for themselves about a week after leaving the nest and become fully independent from the age of about 7 weeks.
Malachite Kingfishers are found almost all over sub-Saharan Africa, being absent only from the driest pockets, and is considered to be of least concern by the IUCN. In South Africa they’re found in every province, though restricted to the course of the Orange River in the Northern Cape.