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Giant Kingfisher

Afrikaans name: Reuse Visvanger

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Ceryle maxima

Photo © Steven Herbert

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Giant Kingfisher

Giant Kingfisher

Photo © Steven Herbert

Ceryle maxima

The Giant Kingfisher is common in South Africa. It can be found over most of the country, other than the arid western regions. Any water habitat suits this species including seashores, estuaries, sewage ponds and freshwater rivers, dams and lakes.

It has a powerful bill which is designed to help it eat its favourite food of crabs. It also catches fish and has been recorded catch fish nearly 18 cm in length. Frogs are also on the menu.

The male and female are fairly similar in looks but there is an easy way to separate them. The male has the brown patch on its chest higher up than the female. It is said that his brown is a waistcoat and her brown is an apron.

The Giant Kingfisher doesn't mess around when it comes to breeding. It excavates a tunnel in a sandbank and these entrance tunnels can be between 1 and 8 metres long! Between 3 and 5 eggs are laid and are tended to by both parents.

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References

List of South African Birds

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