This thread is about Giant Kingfishers only
If you have any photos of or interesting information about Giant Kingfishers you can post it here. Maybe you have made an interesting observation while watching Giant Kingfishers in one of the SANParks that you want to share with the rest of us; this is the place to do it. Giant Kingfisher ( Megaceryle maximus [M. maxima] ) Classification:
Please try and keep generalized comments to the minimum and only post here if it is information we can learn from (if not we might have to move your comments elsewhere). It's always nice to post messages telling people how nice their photo looks like or how you appreciated the info but messages like this sometimes cause the real information to disappear into obscurity.
Now we are waiting for your photo contributions or additional information we can learn from.
Genus: Megaceryle Other names:
French: Martin-pêcheur géant (Alcyon géant)
German: Riesenfischer, Rieseneisvogel
Dutch: Afrikaanse Reuzenijsvogel
The Giant Kingfisher (38-43 cm) is one of the world's two largest members of the family, with only the Laughing Kookaburra (a non-aquatic kingfisher of Australia) as a close competitor. It is a resident breeding bird over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert with the exception of the arid southwest.
Since kingfishers the size of crows aren't that common, it is unmistakeable with its long heavy bill, long crest, dark white-spotted back and rufous breast (male) or belly (female).
The juvenile male has a black-speckled, chestnut breast; the juvenile female has a white breast.
Being one of the four truly aquatic kingfishers (the other three are Malachite Kingfisher
, Half-collared Kingfisher, and Pied Kingfisher
) represented in Southern and East Africa, it feeds exclusively on fish or other aquatic creatures like crabs and frogs. It hunts in the typical kingfisher way by diving from a perch, and rarely hovers.
There are two subspecies, M. m. maximus
, found in open country, and M. m. giganteus
in the rainforest. The forest race is darker, less spotted above, and more barred below than M. m. maximus
, but the two forms intergrade along the forest edge zone.Habitat:
Wooded streams and dams, fast-flowing rivers in mountainous areas, and coastal lagoons. Breeding:
From August to January, 3-5 eggs. They breed in burrows/tunnels excavated into the banks of a river, and are strongly territorial.Sound:
A loud, harsh "kahk-kah-kahk".Status:
Common resident.*edit: added quote originally posted by francoisd in various other bird factsheets.
**edit: link to Malachite Kingfisher topic added.