French: Martin-pêcheur géant German: Riesenfischer Spanish: Martín gigante africano
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
Subspecies and Distribution
M. m. maxima
(Pallas, 1769) – open areas from Senegambia E to W Ethiopia and S Kenya, and S to S Angola, N Botswana, and South Africa (mainly in E half, S to Cape Town and SW, and also Orange R).
M. m. gigantea
(Swainson, 1837) – forest from Liberia to S Nigeria, then E to W Tanzania and S to N Angola; also Bioko.
42–46 cm; male 275–426 g, female 255–398 g. Adult male of nominate race has black forehead, crown and hindneck with small white spots on crown, black lores... read more
Loud, raucous, cackling “kek” when disturbed, may be repeated as “kek-kek-kek-kek... read more
Large perennial rivers, and dams and lakes with plenty of marginal woody growth, in forest and... read more
Food and feeding
Mainly fish (Cichlidae, Serranidae) in Zaire and Zimbabwe, and river crabs (including Potamon) in Liberia and South Africa; also... read more
Lays in Nov–Feb in Senegambia, in Mar in Mali, in Dec–Jan in Liberia, in Dec in Cameroon, in Jan–Mar in Zaire, in Aug in... read more
Generally resident, with some local movements which may involve dispersing juveniles, or adults... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened. Widespread, and common in some localities. A pair in South Africa had a home range of 4·3 km on a river. May suffer from pesticides draining... read more
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