Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima) - HBW 6, p. 247
French: Martin-pêcheur géant
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.
- Least Concern Enlarge map
VideosSee all 17 videos
In a small dam Locality Kruger National Park, South Africa
Juan Sanabria 1 August 2013 48 weeks ago 54 sec 4.6
A young male perched, looking down and scratching once Locality Chobe National Park, North-West District, Botswana (ssp maxima)
Alex García · Videoaves 27 December 2007 6 years ago 19 sec 4.6
Close up of a male on the bridge at Lower Sabie Locality Kruger National Park, South Africa (ssp maxima)
Ghislain Gosse 22 October 2009 3 years ago 34 sec 4.4
A female perched on a branch Locality Mzima Springs, Kenya (ssp maxima)
Jean Hupperetz 30 November 2003 10 years ago 26 sec 4.4
A dorsal view of a bird waiting to fish Locality Abuko Nature Reserve, Abuko, Western Division, The Gambia (ssp maxima)
Eldert Groenewoud 24 October 2005 6 years ago 8 sec 4.2
A bird perched on a branche. Locality Abuko Nature Reserve, Abuko, Western Division, The Gambia
Yoel Jimenez 8 January 2005 4 years ago 19 sec 4
PhotosSee all 37 photos
Immature giant kingfisher attempting a dive
Locality Rawsonville, Western Cape Province, South Africa (ssp Megaceryle maxima)
Louis Groenewald 5 December 2010 36 weeks ago 4.9
A giant flying by.
Locality Marakissa, Western Division, The Gambia
Mattias Hofstede 20 December 2013 35 weeks ago 4.7
A bird perched on a branch over the river
Locality North Bank Division, The Gambia (ssp maxima)
Jose Ramon 23 January 2011 32 weeks ago 4.5
Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima), female
Locality Tsavo West National Park, Kenya
Jacques Erard 15 July 2010 42 weeks ago 4.5
A headshot of a male bird.
Locality Abuko Nature Reserve, Abuko, Western Division, The Gambia (ssp maxima)
Steve Garvie 14 March 2005 4 years ago 4.5
Locality Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
Krzysztof Blachowiak 19 November 2012 1 year ago 4.5
- No sound recordings available yet