The Belted Kingfisher

Learn more about the kingfisher.

The Belted Kingfisher is a striking blue and white bird that can be seen throughout most of the U.S. As its name implies, this bird has a blue back with a white belly that is banded in blue in the male. And banded in blue with a reddish band in the female. The female is the only one with reddish coloring. Another distinguishing feature are the long feathers on the birds head, giving it a crested appearance.

Look for this bird near any water source, such as rivers, lakes, ponds or coastal waters where the birds dive for fish, amphibians, reptiles and insects. You may hear the bird before you see it. It is a very vocal bird, giving a loud, rattling call, often calling during flight.

Another interesting thing about the Belted Kingfisher is their nesting habit. Kingfishers excavate a tunnel in a vertical bank, often far from water. The tunnel is dug by both the male and female, alternating the chores of digging the tunnel with their bills and kicking the soil back out of the tunnel. They can dig about a foot of tunnel a day and the length can run between 3 and 15 feet! At the end of the tunnel is a chamber where their 5 to 7 eggs are laid.

Enjoy watching the following video of the Belted Kingfisher diving for a snack! Note, the kingfisher dives into the water about thirty seconds into the video.

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