Widespread in Africa south of Congo Basin, apart from extreme south; also north to East Africa, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Common in open scrub and woodland.
Readily identified by contrast between lilac throat and breast and azure blue abdomen. Forehead and brow are whitish and the back is brown. The blue tail has outer two feathers elongated to form pointed streamers.
Call is loud harsh squawk, "zaaak zaaak". They perch single or paired. Often noisy, they are aggressive, taking prey from the ground. One typical aspect of its behavior is to prey on animals fleeing from bush fires.
The eggs (2-3) are usually laid on wood shavings in a tree hollow.