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Belted Kingfisher

From Opus

FemalePhoto by Loggah
Female
Photo by Loggah
Megaceryle alcyon

Contents

[edit] Identification

28–33 cm (11-13 in)

  • Big-headed and big-billed
  • Larger than American Robin
  • Blue-gray above
  • Ragged bushy crest
  • Broad gray breastband

[edit] Female

Has rufous breast band

[edit] Male

Lacks rufous breast band.

MalePhoto by richard bledsoeSantee Lakes Regional Campground, San Diego, California, December 2005
Male
Photo by richard bledsoe
Santee Lakes Regional Campground, San Diego, California, December 2005

[edit] Distribution

Common and widespread over North America from southern Alaska east to Newfoundland (except parts of north-central Canada) and south to California and the Gulf Coast.

A partial migrant with most birds from the interior moving south in August-early November, returning in March-May, but some birds stay north in coastal areas. Winter range extends south to Mexico and Central America, the West Indies and northern South America. A common winter visitor and migrant to the Atlantic coast. Regularly recorded on Bermuda and in the Hawaiian Islands (vagrants).

Vagrants recorded in the Western Palearctic recorded in Iceland, Britain, Ireland, and the Azores, with one record for the Netherlands. There have been five Icelandic records including at least two birds in May-September 1998, a moribund female in February 2002 and a male in October 2003. British Isles records (c.10), are mostly in Ireland in October-November but there are records for all months due to long-staying individuals, one for more than a year.

Photo by mrmikeJuly 2007
Photo by mrmike
July 2007

[edit] Taxonomy

Most often seen as a monotypic species[1], but west coast birds are sometimes separated as caurinus. Until recently, this species was placed in genus Ceryle.

[edit] Habitat

Rivers and streams, lakes, ponds and along sea-coasts. Occurs up to 2,500m in the Rocky Mountains.

[edit] Behavior

Hovering on rapidly beating wings in readiness for the plunge, or flying with uneven wingbeats (as if changing gear), rattling as it goes, the kingfisher is easily recognized.

Perches conspicuously and fishes from a perch or hovers over the water.

[edit] Breeding

Nests in burrow in dirt banks.

[edit] Voice

A harsh, woody rattle

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

[edit] External Links

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