African Pygmy Kingfisher

This post is dedicated to my uncle, Leslie Beresford Cross, who died twelve hours ago from metastatic cancer.

Today is going to be a wonderful day. It has been very warm and humid recently, but at six o’clock this morning the sky was powder blue and the temperature was delightful. I wanted to have breakfast on the verandah, but as I opened the door, I could see a tiny bird under one of the white plastic chairs. It was an African Pygmy Kingfisher, waiting for the sun to rise over the hedge and warm it up.

Remarkably, it was very calm and not spooked by my arrival with tea and Weetabix. I slipped back inside and brought out my Panasonic LX-100 to take some photographs. It has a zoom lens, but only 75mm, so I had to get close to get these pictures. A delightful start to the day. Uncle Les would have loved it.


This bird is quite tiny, just about 12cm in length from long red beak to tufty tail. Probably the natalensis subspecies, because the underparts are not so rufous. The dark blue crown distinguishes it from the dwarf kingfisher.

The bird was not interested in the bits of sausage I put down for it, kicking one chunk away with a red foot. They prefer to eat spiders, grasshoppers, worms and cockroaches.

As the sun came up, the bird flew off. I am set up for the day, now.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.


  1. I’m sitting in my hotel room at The Honest Lawyer reading this Ian and it has brightened what is going to be a very sad and emotional day. Thank you.

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