Giant Kingfisher

Giant Kingfisher, Megaceryle maximus

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Scientific name: Megaceryle maximus



Call: When disturbed from its perch it usually gives a harsh, loud ‘kek’ or ‘chik’, sometimes repeated as ‘kek, kek-kek-kek’. The greeting call is ‘kek’, repeated quickly to become a loud rattle, falling slightly in pitch, then becoming regular and monotonous with 3–4 ‘kek’s per second. Both sexes call ‘kek’; or one rattles and the other gives single ‘kek’s[5].





[1] Carroll, R. W. (1988). Birds of the Central African Republic. Malimbus, 10(2), 177-200.

[2] Forshaw, J. M., & Cooper, W. T. (1983). Kingfishers and related birds: Alcedinidae, Ceryl to Cittura. Sydney, Aus: Lansdowne Editions.

[3] Fry, C. H. (1980). The evolutionary biology of kingfishers (Alcedinidae). Living Bird, 18, 113-160.

[4] Fry, C. H. (1980). The origin of Afrotropical kingfishers. Ibis, 122(1), 57-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1980.tb00871.x

[5] Fry, C. H., Fry, K., & Harris, A. (1992). Kingfishers, bee-eaters and rollers: A handbook. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

[6] Fry, C. H., Keith, S., Urban, E. K., Woodcock, M. W., Willis, I., & Chappuis, C. (1988). The birds of Africa (Vol. 3). London, UK: Academic Press.

[7] Hockey, P. A. R. (1997). Africa’s kingfishers: A guide to their identification. Africa — Birds & Birding, 2(1), 61-65.

[8] Sinclair, I., Hockey, P. A. R., Tarboton, W. R., Hayman, P., & Arlott, N. (1995). Illustrated guide to the birds of southern Africa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

[9] Williams, J. G., Arlott, N., & Peterson, R. T. (1980). A field guide to the birds of East Africa. London, UK: Collins.


Chris Pienaar's Kingfisher Gallery

Giant Kingfisher Subspecies
Scientific name Range
Megaceryle maximus maximus Senegambia to Ethiopia and South Africa
Megaceryle maximus giganteus Rainforests of Liberia to w Tanzania and n Angola

Data sources:

  • Ditsong Museum, (accessed through GBIF data portal,
  • Cowan Tetrapod Collection - Birds, (accessed through GBIF data portal,
  • Southern African Bird Atlas Project, (accessed through GBIF data portal,
  • SAFRING, (accessed through GBIF data portal,
  • eBird, (accessed through GBIF data portal,

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