Mystery Bird: Grey-headed Kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala

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[Mystery bird] Grey-headed Kingfisher, also known as the Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala, photographed near the Pangani River Camp, Tanzania, Africa. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Dan Logen, 13 January 2010 [larger view].

Nikon D300, 600 mm VR lens, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec, f/7.1, Exposure compensation -.7.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.

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"Conceived" by the "sea salt" during the winter solstice, of the 13 possible species in this genus for Tanzania, there are only three that are similar- the all-red bill eliminates one, and that chestnut belly eliminates the other...

By David Hilmy (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

Got it in one David. The belly colour is diagnostic of this one.
I was expecting another Batis or Lanius from Grrl, or a US Bunting.

Slightly off-topic David, I've just received an e-mail about a book called "Speciation and Biogeography of Birds" by Ian Newton. It brings together all the recent research in these areas. At £64.00 it's a bit out of my reach at the moment, but I've added it to my wish list.

Looks great, Adrian (even the "used" copies over here are $75+, new over $100)... perhaps Grrl can ask to review a copy and then "auction" it off on a challenging Mystery Bird ID?

By David Hilmy (not verified) on 14 Mar 2010 #permalink

oh, now that's an interesting idea. since i research speciation and biogeography of parrots, that is a title i'd wish to keep after i've reviewed it, BUT that said, it might be possible that i can get a second copy and use that as a prize for IDing an especially mysterious bird, as you suggested, david.

Good idea David, but I think it will be hard to give everyone a chance, perhaps a series of tests and high score wins. If Grrl has the time and inclination, that is.
I've just gone to your Meyr link and haven't things changed a lot since 1946! Isn't the latest estimate approaching 10,600 species?

Should we identify this bird? It's a Grey=headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala.