An encounter with the rockabilly of the bird world – the pied kingfisher.

Pied Kingfishers on the banks of Lake Victoria, Mwanza, Tanzania.
Pied Kingfishers on the banks of Lake Victoria.

Keeping up with my Easter Resolution of using my art sketchbooks more, I decided to tuck one in my pocket as I went for lunch with my family today.

And was so chuffed I did, because at long last I had my first encounter with the beautiful water bird the pied kingfisher. While having lunch on the beach at Tunza Lodge near Mwanza, I noticed one, then two, then half a dozen of these eye-catching black and white birds as they darted and hovered above Lake Victoria, looking for fish.

The birds hung around most of the afternoon, as did we, so I was able to paint this little image of them. Their black and white colours stand out so well against the bright Tanzanian tropical foliage and I love the crest on their heads which I think makes them look like they have a mini rockabilly quiff.

My four-year-old daughter Frida sat beside me, also with her sketchbook and drew the birds too – this was her sketch of what she called the fishing bird (although she used a little artistic license and opted for a more colourful rainbow version).

Four-year-old Frida's sketch of a fishing bird.
Four-year-old Frida’s sketch of a fishing bird.

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