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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Giant Kingfisher

Afrikaans name: Reuse Visvanger

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.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 98

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 90

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 55

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 134

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 46

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 122

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 411

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 374

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 370

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 256

The Coastal Guide of South Africa - Author: Jacana Media - Year Published: 2007 - Page: 98

List of South African Birds

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