NatureMapping Animal Facts for Kids

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher (Ceryl alcyon)
Species Code: CEAL
Rey Pescador - en Espaņol

distribution map

What they look like: The Belted Kingfisher is gray above and white below with a bluish gray strip across their chest and a broad white collar that looks like a white necklace around their neck. Their feathers are spiked on their head and they have a pointed beak. The tail is somewhat stubby and the legs are very short.

Belted Kingfisher photo by NP

Where they live: This Kingfisher breeds in all forms of water throughout North America except for part of Alaska and Northern Canada. They also can be found along both coast lines and most of the Mississippi Valley they are year round residents. When the streams or rivers freeze they will retreat from most of Canada and mountains and prairie land of the western United States as far south as they need to go to find running water and a suitable fishing area. This bird is abundant in all localities near water, where its rattling notes are among the most familiar of sounds.

What they eat: Their food is almost entirely of small fish, they will also consume crabs, crayfish, salamanders, lizard's mice and insects. Squid and oysters are also eaten in their marine habitats. They can be often be seen on their favorite perches surveying the water for unsuspecting prey. At other times the Kingfisher will hover like a helicopter and then dive head first into the water to capture the fish in its powerful bill.

Nesting: Their nest are located at the end of tunnels in sand banks or the banks of creeks and rivers. These tunnels which are dug by the birds generally commence two of three feet from the top of the bank about the length of a baseball bat, and extend back from six to eight feet either in a straight line or curved about the length of three baseball bats. The end is larger to form a suitable nesting place, in which five to eight eggs are laid. The eggs are shiny and pure white in color.

Belted Kingfisher Tracks
Belted Kingfisher Tracks
by J. Wernet, age 12

Belted Kingfisher Silhouette

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

Photo Credit: Natures Pics

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