There can be no mistaking the Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) in the field. Not only is it a large bird, but its black and white plumage is distinctive – even from afar. They are common over much of South Africa, where I have seen them near rivers and dams. This one is a male as it has a double breast band.

Apparently the Pied Kingfisher is the only kingfisher that hovers over the water before diving in bill-first to catch its prey.

The Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maximus) is even larger with a massive dark bill, spotted upper parts and the distinctive rufous underparts.

This one is probably a female as it has a white chest with blackish spots and a chestnut belly.

These birds are noted for diving into the water from its perch – usually a branch overhanging water – and returning to the same perch to eat its prey. This is useful for photographers – providing the sun is in the right place!


  1. ‘n Reusevisvanger kom maak gereeld ‘n draai by ons Koidam.Het al gesien hoe hy van ons visse vang.Deesdae is daar net grotes wat te swaar is vir hom.Eintlik doen hy ons ‘n guns, want hy hou die getalle in toom. ☺️Mooi foto’s,Aletta


  2. Pied guy seems ready to take off and hover, while great lady* rests on her (laurel?) like a gueen on her ________.
    .  .    .    .

    *(It diidn’t seem polite to use “giant” to describe her; I tried buxom’; then “fulsome” then “well rounded”‘ then “curvaceous”; finally resorted to deferential exaggeration– and she does seem  a bit royal in her pose

    Liked by 1 person

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