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Kingfisher, Giant

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Jose
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Kingfisher, Giant

Unread postby Jose » Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:52 pm

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.

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.

Giant Kingfisher ( Megaceryle maximus [M. maxima] )

Classification:
Order: Coraciformes
Family: Cerylidae
Genus: Megaceryle

Other names:
Afrikaans: Reusevisvanger
French: Martin-pêcheur géant (Alcyon géant)
German: Riesenfischer, Rieseneisvogel
Dutch: Afrikaanse Reuzenijsvogel
Portuguese: Pica-peixe-gigante

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.
Last edited by Jose on Tue May 23, 2006 5:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Cicelia
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Unread postby Cicelia » Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:20 am

Seen on the S100 on the 05/03/06

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Unread postby DuQues » Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:30 pm

Seen from another perspective at Lower Sabie:
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Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:34 pm

Balule bridge over Olifants - Sept 2006
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Unread postby lisa » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:55 pm

This guy was sitting on the railing of the bridge at Lower Sabie December 30 & 31, 2006. He let us get incredibly close and did not seem bothered in the least. It was thrilling to see the detail of his feathers, and the markings on his beak like a well-worn tool.
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Unread postby katydownunder » Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:02 pm

We have been extremely lucky on the low water bidge near Lower Sabie.
It was the first time that we saw one. 8)
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All pics are great , but I love the perspective of your second pic lisa .
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Unread postby Wild about cats » Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:58 am

Wow guys we have some really great pictures here! I saw my first one in Dec in that picnic spot on the way to the Giriondo Border post. (Forgot the name) At first it was a huge shape in the trees and then I id'd it. :D
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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:25 pm

Other places I have seen them recently were at Sunset Dam, the ones from the LS low water bridge probably having a change of scenery, and looking left from the restaurant area at Letaba. We also usually see them at Matambeni hide near there, and in the Croc River from M*rl*th P*rk.
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Unread postby Elsa » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:53 pm

Some interesting interaction between 2 Giant Kingfishers.

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Unread postby Ludwig » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:32 pm

I got this Giant kingfisher at the bridge at Lower Sabie.
Once it closed his eyes by covering it with his nictitating membrane.
If you have a close look at the third picture you can see the bridge, the river, the banks, the sun and the blue sky mirroring in its eye.

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:22 am

Giant kingfisher female with catch... a banded tilapia, Tilapia sparmanii

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Re: Kingfisher, Giant

Unread postby Safrica » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:30 pm

on the Olifants bridge:

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KNP-trip No. 8: 2014!
30 November: Pretoriuskop
1-2 December: Lower Sabie
3-4 December: Satara
5-6 December: Balule
7-8 December: Letaba
9-10 December: Tamboti

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Re: Kingfisher, Giant

Unread postby wildheart » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:33 am

I had the pleasure of watching this fellow bath. :D
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Re: Kingfisher, Giant

Unread postby Elsa » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:47 pm

Seen on the Lower Sabie bridge in March this year.

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Skopsie
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Re: Kingfisher, Giant

Unread postby Skopsie » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:18 pm

Saw this one on the Balule bridge. She must be an old lady if you look at the wear and tear on the bill...

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