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Belted Kingfisher

ID Info
Belted Kingfisher by Brian Kushner
Silhouette KingfishersKingfishers
Belted KingfisherMegaceryle alcyon
  • ORDER: Coraciiformes
  • FAMILY: Alcedinidae

Basic Description

With its top-heavy physique, energetic flight, and piercing rattle, the Belted Kingfisher seems to have an air of self-importance as it patrols up and down rivers and shorelines. It nests in burrows along earthen banks and feeds almost entirely on aquatic prey, diving to catch fish and crayfish with its heavy, straight bill. These ragged-crested birds are a powdery blue-gray; males have one blue band across the white breast, while females have a blue and a chestnut band.

More ID Info
image of range map for Belted Kingfisher
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Belted Kingfishers are common along streams and shorelines across North America. You’ll probably hear a loud, rattling call before you see the kingfisher. Its large head and hefty bill give it a distinctive profile as it patrols its territory, using the open space above the water as a flyway. They also perch on riverside branches and telephone wires. Belted Kingfishers also make long commuting flights over fields and forests, far from water, so be prepared for the occasional surprise flyover wherever you are birding.

Other Names

  • Martín Gigante Norteamericano (Spanish)
  • Martin-pêcheur d'Amérique (French)

Backyard Tips

Belted Kingfishers sometimes come to backyards that contain ponds or goldfish pools, often to the dismay of the homeowners.

  • Cool Facts