The Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima maxima) is the largest kingfisher in Africa, found from Senegal and Gambia to Ethiopia and south to South Africa. The second subspecies of Giant Kingfisher is (Megaceryle maxima gigantea) found mainly in western Africa.
The Giant Kingfisher is about 42 centimetres (16.5 inches) long, with a large shaggy crest, a large black beak and small white spots on black upperparts. The male has a chestnut breast band and white underparts. The female has a white-spotted black chest band and a chestnut belly.
The Giant Kingfisher likes trees and woodlands. It feeds on crabs, fish, and frogs, which it catches by diving from a perch.
The Giant Kingfisher is monogamous (one mate for life) and a solitary breeder. The male and female make a nest by digging into a river bank using their feet and beaks. The entrance hole is 11 centimetres (4.3 inches) high and 15 centimetres (5.9 inches) wide. The tunnel is about 2 metres (79 inches) in length. The female lays about three eggs at the end of the tunnel.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM