Belted Kingfisher

Male Belted Kingfisher

Male Belted Kingfisher


Female Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher’s features:

Have you ever seen a Belted Kingfisher?
A Belted Kingfisher has short legs and a long beak. Their greyish head is somewhat like a Cardinal’s or Stellar’s Jay. You may already know that most birds are either the same color or that the male has more colorful features than the female. In this rare case, the female Belted Kingfisher has more colorful features than the male.


They nest in burrows , but they tend to spend a lot of time at the edge of a Lake, river, or pond, which is where I saw one as I was out bird watching on Easter. They fly up and down rivers quickly, giving out loud calls. They can take up to 7 days to finish digging their burrow, and sometimes 3 whole weeks! Once the burrow is finished, it can extend into the bank, 3-6 feet. If you were inside the burrow, (even though people can not fit in there, and I wouldn’t suggest doing so) you would see skeletons and undigested fish bones that have accumulated there over time.


From looking at a the bird, it may not look like a hunter but Belted Kingfishers love fish, which is no surprise because they hangout at ponds and streams, and their name is King-fisher. They may sometimes eat insects, amphibians, reptiles and even other young birds, which is strange because it isn’t a large bird like the Turkey Vulture. Unlike most Raptors that perch near the water as they fish, the Belted Kingfisher takes flight then dives down into the water to get a trout or catfish or such, and grabs the fish in its bill/beak, returning with its kill.

Random Facts:

~Hawks, other mammals, and snakes are all predators of the Belted Kingfisher.

~Rough-Winged Swallows may  sometimes try to nest in the Kingfisher’s entrance to the burrow, just as burrowing owls nest in the burrows of Prairie dogs. Kingfishers come in and out of their burrows so often that the swallows are driven away.

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