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Giant Kingfisher
Flickr - Rainbirder - Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) male (cropped)
Male
Information
Range Africa.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae
Cerylinae
Genus Megaceryle
Species Megaceryle maxima
Conservation Status
LCSpecies
Least Concern

The Giant kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima), is the largest species of water kingfisher in Africa, where it is a resident breeding bird over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert other than the arid southwest.

Description

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Female

The giant kingfisher is 42–48 cm (16½-18⅞ inches) long, with a large crest and finely spotted white on black upperparts. The male has a chestnut breast band and otherwise white underparts with dark flank barring, and the female has a white-spotted black breast band and chestnut belly.

Subspecies

There are two subspecies, Megaceryle maxima maxima, found in open country, and Megaceryle maxima gigantea in the rainforest. The forest race is darker, less spotted above, and more barred below than maxima, but the two forms intergrade along the forest edge zone.

Diet

This large species feeds on crabs, fish, and frogs, caught in the typical kingfisher way by a dive from a perch.

Reproduction

Breeding is from August to January, 3–5 eggs being laid in a riverbank tunnel.

Call

This large species feeds on crabs, fish, and frogs, caught in the typical kingfisher way by a dive from a perch.

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