- ORDER: Coraciiformes
- FAMILY: Alcedinidae
The loud and brash Ringed Kingfisher looks like a super-sized version of a Belted Kingfisher. This steely blue and rich chestnut bird is nearly the size of an American Crow, with a massive, daggerlike bill it uses to grab fish out of freshwater rivers and lakes. It often perches for long periods in the open on a bare branch, bridge, or utility wire over water. Common in much of Latin America, it barely reaches into the U.S. in southern Texas.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Ringed Kingfishers are not shy. They perch out in the open along rivers and lakes, often on the most prominent and conspicuous perches. Their large size (much larger than Belted), distinctive shape, and loud calls make them easy to recognize in suitable habitat throughout their range. Although they hunt mostly over freshwater, you might also find them in sheltered brackish and saltwater environments.
- Martín Gigante Neotropical (Spanish)
- Martin-pêcheur à ventre roux (French)
- Cool Facts
- Unlike Belted Kingfishers, Ringed Kingfishers rarely hover for more than a few seconds when hunting over water.
- After hatching, young Ringed Kingfishers begin to beg for food with “sizzling” calls, which soon change to a trill similar to the rattling call of adults.
- To grip fish tightly, Ringed Kingfisher’s bill has fine, jagged edges called tomial serrations, which act like teeth to prevent slippery fish from escaping.
- A species with a large range through Central and South America, the Ringed Kingfisher reaches only into extreme southern Texas, and was first found nesting there in the relatively recent past, in 1970.