<< Previous Next >>

African Giant Kingfisher

African Giant Kingfisher
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-22
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 70-200 f 2.8 L USM
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Alex99 favorite shots, Bayram's Favorites-1, Birds of South Africa 3, Eliz strange, exotic or little known species - 3, TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-05-13 2:19
Viewed: 7292
Favorites: 3 [view]
Points: 86
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I have been looking for this species for years - and eventually found one sitting on a bridge, just south of Lower Sabie Camp in the Kruger NP. It was completely unconcerned at the cars queing for the hippo and buffalo - I was able to get it with my 70 - 200mm 2.8.

I am uploading earlier than usual today as I am off to Abu Dhabi for a couple of days (work), but have my laptop so hope to be uploading etc. I had originally hoped to have Horia to stay during this time - I know he is meeting up with some other TN member later this week.

The Giant Kingfisher, Megaceryle maxima, is the largest kingfisher in Africa, where it is a resident breeding bird over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert other than the arid southwest.

There are two subspecies, M. m. maxima, found in open country, and M. m. gigantea in the rainforest. The forest race is darker, less spotted above, and more barred below than maxima, but the two forms intergrade along the forest edge zone.

Breeding is from August to January, 3-5 eggs being laid in a riverbank tunnel.

Giant Kingfisher is 42-48 cm long, with a large crest and finely spotted white on black upperparts. The male has a chestnut breast band and otherwise white underparts with dark flank barring, and the female has a white-spotted black breast band and chestnut belly.

The call is a loud wak wak wak.

This large species feeds on crabs, fish, and frogs, caught in the typical kingfisher way by a dive from a perch. The number of these birds appears to have declined, possibly as a result of pesticides.

SueThomson, aes_thor, haraprasan, marhowie, Argus, ramthakur, uleko, iris, anel, boreocypriensis, gerbilratz, jaycee, Alex99, carper, Dis. Ac., Amadeo, SelenE, nglen, Juyona, Royaldevon, Hil, Adanac, CeltickRanger, vanderschelden, gracious, rousettus, goldyrs, inked, gannu, matatur, albert, eqshannon, smitha has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To vanderschelden: SoonJamesp 1 05-13 22:55
To boreocypriensis: ThanksJamesp 2 05-13 14:15
To nglen: HoriaJamesp 1 05-13 14:02
To gerbilratz: ThanksJamesp 1 05-13 13:21
To ramthakur: ThanksJamesp 1 05-13 13:20
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2008-05-13 2:58]

Wonderful picture and funny bird. TFS

Hi James
TFS this unusual bird and well captured. Nice detail and good muted background to complement him.

Hi James!
Nice looking birt with this white spots on black feathers. Very well captured. nice colours.

Hi James, this is a new Kingfisher for me, so thanks for the introduction. This guy is beautiful, very unique look to him with that pokka-dotted body and that huge head and beak. Very good close shot, getting it with 195mm. Colour and detail is excellent, very nicely done.

Thanks, John

Hi James,
A lovely capture of this beautiful giant Afrikan Kingfisher. A very good composition with sharp details. Nice patterns on its plumage. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2008-05-13 4:51]

Hello James,

Great capture, I love it, and reading where you took it, I want to go back again.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-05-13 5:12]

Hello James,
As I only have an old scanned slide image of the Giant Kingfisher, nothing like as close as this, it is a joy to view this fine close capture. Great pose and POV and superb details.
TFS this beauty,

You took this picture on my birthday, James, so I'll snap it up as my favourite birthday gift :-)!
Sorry, I've been terribly busy these last few days on account of school closing for summer break and could not reciprocate to your kind critique earlier.
I must congratulate you on finally being able to capture this highly coveted subject -- Giant Kingfisher.
Needless to say, the picture is immaculate in all respects.
Thanks for sharing it and best regards.
BTW, have a nice time in Abu Dhabi!

Hi James

Great shot of this beautiful large kingfisher.
Excellent sharpness and plumage details, a classic pose.
Great composition and OOF background.
Well done.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-05-13 5:46]

Hello James,
Very fine capture of the Giant Kingfisher in a nice pose. It's a really splendid bird and you show its beautiful colours and patterns very nicely here. We've seen it once in Gambia.
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-05-13 8:00]

Aren't there times in our lives when we strive so much for certain things and then lo! and behold you suddenly realise God has decided to present it right before you?

Lucky you James, a real pleasant surprise captured in the best justifiable manner with your wonderful skills as a photographer. Superb sharpness and colours, i love that catchlight you manage to get despite that black patch aroud the eye.Very well done.
TFS & Cheers

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-05-13 8:21]

Hello James,
Excellent shot of this unusual looking Kingfisher. Perfect framing, sharpness and background. It seems to be quite a great bird compared to the other birds of this family.
Thanks and best regards

Wowww... james perfect capture in all way my friend and bird also very beautiful. Great composition. This should be take its place in my favs! TFS. Cheers,

Hi James, you have put up some seriously good images, this to me is your best, the detail, colour and overall composition is first rate. It has gone on my favourite list... regards h

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-05-13 9:20]

Hi James,

What a wonderful looking bird with the black and the white specks and the touches of orange. He certainly is unusual looking. Great shot showing him in great detail. Amazing how the black eye shines against the black feathers. His head looks so big for his body! I love the opened beak and the pose.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-05-13 10:18]

Hi James.
Thanks for this masterpiece and sample how and what we should do with camera. The pictured model and picture one is better than another is. All is superb. Framing and composition, sharpness and details of the bird and colourfulenss, smoothness of the BG. Lights and exposure are also spot on. My congratulations and Bravo.

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2008-05-13 10:22]

wauw, fantastic capture of this kingfisher,
good pov marvelous details, what a fantastic wild shot here. with my compliments. have a nice evening
gr. jaap

Hello James,

Nicely captured and great BG, the bird have lots of details.
Nice pov and dof.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-05-13 11:58]

Hello James,
The best photo of this Kingfisher I've ever seen. Extreme sharp details in wonderful colours. Everything in this photo is so good, even the BG is amazing. Congratulations.

  • Great 
  • Amadeo Gold Star Critiquer [C: 168 W: 0 N: 755] (3323)
  • [2008-05-13 12:10]

hola James, una excelente fotografia, con buen color y luz y muy buen detalle. Un saludo

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-05-13 13:04]

Hi James,
Beautiful portait of this giant kingfisher. I'm happy for you that you finally found it :o) I like the details on the plumage, focus, sharpness, and background. TFS
All the best,

Hi James!
There are a lot of pictures with kingfishers here on TN, but I do not remember this species. The black-white mosaic of colours (+ some orage details) makes this species very nice and original coloured. Bravo for showing something new!
All the best!

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-05-13 13:28]
  • [+]

Hi james. This is such a good close up of this beautiful bird. great markings on the feathers which you have caoptured so well. Natural colours.against the plain BG. worth the wait. Have a good trip.

PsI am seeing Horia on Sundau.

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-05-13 14:02]

Hola amigo,
preciosa captura y buen pov...
original plumaje,
bello bg.
saludos James.

hello James,

What absolutely stunning sharpness and details of this giant kingfisher. I love the plummage pattern!

His long beak, so necessary for catching food, seems quite out of proportion with the rest of his body and gives a humorous appearance!

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

  • Great 
  • Hil Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
  • [2008-05-13 14:19]

Hi James

Wonderful shot of the handsome Kingfisher.
Its a really nice pose and I like the POV too.
Excellent details and great exposure on the spotty feathers.
Suerb colours to and a nice OOF BG.


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-05-13 14:51]

Hello James,
Incredable close up shot of this kingfisher. This species has a very nice plumage pattern and a lovely chestnut breast. Great image, great note what else can we ask for. Great work James and safe trip.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-05-13 14:57]

Hello James! Wow, what a great bird shot! It's so sharp and clear! A beautiful picture from a master. Thanks,


Hello James,
The few Kingfishers I spotted in Kruger were all perched on a bridge.
This is rather a close encounter. Guess it took off soon...
Well done

Hello James,
Many thanks for sharing for this truly beautiful Giant Kingfisher with us and it's my first encounter of this species!
great pose of it in perfect sharpness, good colour and details!
best regards

Hello James,
another very beautiful kingfisher. wonderful capture with excellent focus, amazing superb coloration. Greetings. best wishes

A wonderful shot, James...And you do pen your notes very well indeed!
This is a rare variety of kingfishers tome.
Very well seen and captured!

  • Great 
  • inked Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 132 W: 0 N: 249] (771)
  • [2008-05-13 23:06]

hi James,
very nice! i understand why you'd been searching a while, and congrats on finding one and getting a fantastic shot to go! nicely exposed, im sure it's not easy with that fantastic black and white coat. great pov and pose caught. great detail and color too. tfs

Hello James , excellent shrpnss and details , also comp. TFS and good luck .

A rare sight indeed, this kingfisher James, you've captured its salient characteristics and fine colourings expertly with this sharply focused take my friend, TFS and cheers,

Hi James
Crystal clear image with superb detail
Lovely color specially the OOF BG
Wonderful capture and pose. tfs jon

Hi James
Great bird and beautiful picture

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-05-14 11:10]

Hi James,
this is really superb shot!
Very, very, very, very sharp and extremely detailed.
Excellent diagonal composition.
Brilliant DOF and BG.
Great lighting and lovely colours.
One of your best!



His head looks larger than it should...but I suppose they all do..I have seen these...gee..surprise to me...and I totally forget where ti was. now I must find my old book from back east..my Peterson's guide with all of my notes...Very very fine image James!

hello James

very beautiful image of this Kingfisher with fine POV, DOF and framing,
excellent luminosity of the image, great sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-05-15 6:09]

Hello James,what a wonderful bird. I wish we could have them here. Lovely capture with superb details. Sharp picture. Ganesh I will b back

Hello James,
Excellent close up shot of the Giant Kingfisher.Immaculate sharpness and details in the plumage. Excellent POV and DOF. Lovely colours.This one is a new species for me.
Thanks for the share,

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-05-31 19:09]

Hello James

Amazing capture,the pov is awesome.
excellent focus and sharpness.
The plumage detail is incredible.
Lovely colours and markings.
Great job.


Calibration Check