Belted Kingfisher Habits

The Belted Kingfisher is an extremely shy bird. Trying to photograph this bird takes a lot of patience and a good hiding spot.

If you know where it perches, that might be the place to try to get a photo.

Using a motion activated-camera, place the camera as close to the area where the bird feeds.

It always seems that when I'm out birdwatching, I'll hear this bird before I see it. And by the time I see it, it's moving on.

Belted Kingfishers prefer to live most of the year as a loner until the mating and nesting season begins.

Belted Kingfisher Female

Female Belted Kingfisher with two Bands

During this breeding and nesting time, a mated pair works together as a team during all phases, including the construction of the nest site, incubation, and raising of their young.

Belted Kingfisher Call

Description What a Kingfisher Looks Like

Measuring 11 to 14 inches in length. A large blue bird with a long, thick black bill. Blue-gray above and on the head.

Noticeable crest on the head. A white spot in front of red-brown eyes.

The male has a blue-gray band across the breast. One of the very few species where the female has more color than the male.

In this case, the female has the same blue-gray band as the male, but sports a second, rust-colored band across her belly.

Belted Kingfisher Nesting Habits

The Belted Kingfisher always lives near water: streams, rivers, and lakes are where you're likely to find nest sites.

They begin building their nest by taking turns digging a tunnel into an earthen bank near their fishing territory.

Burrows are built near feeding territories and may be reused from the previous season, although not defended aggressively.

Multiple burrows may be excavated, but only one will be used.

Digging out a tunnel with their long bills and pushing the dirt and debris out with their feet as they push forward.

The tunnel will be 3 to 7 feet long when completed, and the eggs will be laid in total darkness.

The area of the nest site itself is about 10 - 12 inches in diameter and is domed. Both males and females will share in the incubation.

Incubation will last for 24 days. The young will be born without feathers and be brooded by the female, while the male feeds the young and the female.

Once the chicks get feathers, both males and females will feed them.

Belted Kingfisher Male

Male Belted Kingfisher one Band

The young will leave the nest about 33 to 38 days after hatching.

Within 1 - 2 weeks after leaving the nest, the young will be able to feed themselves and will begin looking for territories of their own.

Belted Kingfisher Feeding Diet Habits What They Eat

Often seen hovering over a body of water and then suddenly diving head first in pursuit of fish to eat. The Kingfisher's diet consists mostly of small fish.

Other foods they eat include tadpoles, salamanders, frogs, and some insects.

An interesting behavior of this bird is how it eats.

After diving for a fish, it will return to its perch and beat the food against the limb or whatever it's perched on.

Once done with slamming the food, it then tosses the fish up in the air, catches it in its long bill, and swallows it headfirst.

Like an owl, the Belted Kingfisher will regurgitate any indigestible parts in the form of pellets.

These birds teach their young to fish by dropping dead prey into the water for the young to retrieve.

One wonders how many meals are lost with the tossing-in-the-air approach.

What is the Belted Kingfisher Habitat

The territorial habitat of Belted Kingfishers is wetlands, rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Since they nest and make their homes in eroding banks, controlled streams may deprive them of nesting sites.

Breeding bird survey data shows an average population decline of almost 2 percent annually.

Only a partial migrate. In most of its range, it is a permanent resident.


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