Belted Kingfishers occur throughout most of the United States, Canada and Mexico though only seen seasonally in the very south and north portions of their range. I am lucky to have them year-round where I live in Colorado and I took these photos in one of my regular birding ‘patches’ last November.
In the photo on the right, the kingfisher is full into it’s dive into a pond to catch a fish. It hit the water only a second or two after I took this shot but it came up without a fish, which is not unusual for this species that has to work hard for it’s food.
This photo gives a good view of white wing-patches on their upper slate-blue wings that are often not visible.
The bottom photo, which is of the same bird as in the photo above, shows it’s distinctive shaggy crest in the raised position. Also clear are the white underparts, the dark breastband and white collar that is this bird’s year-round plumage.
If you look closely you can see that it’s long, heavy bill that it uses to catch and devour sometimes astonishingly large fish is just slightly open. This bird lacks the rusty bands found on female Belted Kingfishers so we know it’s a male.
Below is a nice video of both male and female Belted Kingfishers from the Neighborhood Naturalist website that belongs to an organization in the Willamette Valley of Oregon of naturalists teaching their neighbors in the area about the wonderful natural world around them. They were able to record the rattling on this video clip that is so distinctive to this species.
Do you have Belted Kingfishers in your local birding ‘patch’?