Kingfishers II: Big and bold

The Giant Kingfisher, Megaceryle maxima, is a majestic bird measuring 46cm (18 in) . The female (below) has a streaked chest and a reddish lower belly; the male reverses the coloring!

I only ever saw females on this trip,

Although in Zambia five years ago I did see a male:

Back in the Gambia, this one diving on a fish could have been either:

They eat mainly fish, but also frogs and even crabs. And that beak must strike terror into the heart of any target: this is the view the victim gets just before the denouement.

Not as big at 25cm, but far more cheerful, is this Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Halcyon malimbica:

From behind it is a brilliant turquoise:

It is a tree kingfisher, and not a specialist fish-eater. It mainly eats invertebrates, including insects and crabs, beating them on the ground before eating them. That huge bill must help.

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