Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) - HBW 6, p. 247

French: Martin-pêcheur géant German: Riesenfischer Spanish: Martín Gigante Africano
Other common names: African Giant/Alucan Giant Kingfisher

Taxonomy: Alcedo maxima Pallas, 1769, Cape of Good Hope.
Genus sometimes merged into Ceryle. Forms a superspecies with M. lugubris, M. torquata and M. alcyon. Validity of race gigantea has been questioned, since light and dark forms have been found together in Liberia and both the Upper and Lower Guinea forests; further investigation required. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • maxima (Pallas, 1769) - open areas from Senegambia E to W Ethiopia and S to S Angola, N Botswana, and South Africa, mainly in E half, S to Cape Town and SW, and also Orange R.
  • gigantea (Swainson, 1837) - forest from Liberia to N Nigeria, then E to W Tanzania and S to N Angola.

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