Skip to Content

Kingfisher, Giant

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
User avatar
Jose
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1362
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2004 12:06 am
Location: the Netherlands

Kingfisher, Giant

Unread post by 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.

User avatar
Cicelia
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 5:27 pm

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

Seen on the S100 on the 05/03/06

Image

User avatar
DinkyBird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 45203
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: The Beautiful Cape

Unread post by DinkyBird » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:34 pm

Balule bridge over Olifants - Sept 2006
Image
- Dalene

User avatar
lisa
Posts: 122
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:39 pm
Location: Hoedspruit

Unread post by 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.
Image
Image

User avatar
katydownunder
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1267
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:25 pm
Location: Back "home"?!...........

Unread post by 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)
Image

All pics are great , but I love the perspective of your second pic lisa .
The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010

User avatar
Wild about cats
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1847
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Location: SA
Contact:

Unread post by 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
Back to Letaba in April, July and September

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14

Letaba Ladies, 3rd Edition - '14 - '15

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 6875
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Unread post by 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.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

In a world of grey, be RED

User avatar
Elsa
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 15250
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Sheffield Beach KZN North Coast, South Africa

Unread post by Elsa » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:53 pm

Some interesting interaction between 2 Giant Kingfishers.

Image

User avatar
Ludwig
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 3:27 pm
Location: Bavaria

Unread post by 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.

Image
Image


The whole story you can find in my Kruger story: "June 18th, Tenth day, Fighting in the dark . . . , Monday – Part 2".
Just follow the below link.

User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Award: Birder of the Year (2015)
Posts: 2531
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

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

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

Image
Large view
728 Latest lifers: Hartlaub's babbler, Coppery-tailed coucal, Red-billed spurfowl, White-browed coucal, Scharlow's turaco, Copper sunbird, Long-toed lapwing, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Malagasy pond heron, Soft-plumaged petrel, Orange-winged pytilia.

User avatar
Safrica
Posts: 167
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:02 pm
Location: Germany (Bühl) - but dreaming of Africa!

Re: Kingfisher, Giant

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

on the Olifants bridge:

Image
Jochen

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

1993, 1995, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2013. Next trip coming up!

User avatar
wildheart
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:20 pm

Re: Kingfisher, Giant

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

I had the pleasure of watching this fellow bath. :D
Image
Image
Image

User avatar
Elsa
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 15250
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Sheffield Beach KZN North Coast, South Africa

Re: Kingfisher, Giant

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

Seen on the Lower Sabie bridge in March this year.

ImageLink

ImageLink

User avatar
Skopsie
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:44 pm
Location: Limpopo

Re: Kingfisher, Giant

Unread post by 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...

Image
"I bashed with Bush Babtist!!"

User avatar
oddesy
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2693
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:57 pm
Location: Randburg, SA

Re: Kingfisher, Giant

Unread post by oddesy » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:14 am

I had a great sighting of a giant kingfisher yesterday :dance:
Image
Larger view
The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle


Return to “Birding in Southern Africa”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Webcam Highlights

Addo
Submitted by sue ralph at 14:55:55
orpen
Submitted by ao4 at 15:50:01
satara
Submitted by PJL at 18:08:06
nossob
Submitted by George_Brits at 15:11:28