The Giant Kingfisher

The giant kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) is the largest kingfisher in Africa, where it is a resident breeding bird over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert (including Sibuya Game Reserve) other than the arid southwest.

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.

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

There are two subspecies, M. m. maxima, found in open country, and M. m. 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.

 

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