The Belted Kingfisher is one of our favorite local birds. They sure squawk up a storm, after hearing their rattling chirp kingfishers are usually easy to spot after that. With its top-heavy physique the Belted Kingfisher looks comical like he Gary Henderson dreamed him up for his next Muppets movie. It feeds almost entirely on aquatic prey, diving to catch fish with its heavy, straight bill. These ragged-crested birds are a powdery blue-gray; males have one blue band across the white breast, while females have a blue and a chestnut band.
Belted Kingfishers spend much of their time perched alone along the edges of streams, lakes, and estuaries, searching for small fish. They also fly quickly up and down rivers and shorelines giving loud rattling calls. They hunt either by plunging directly from a perch, or by hovering over the water, bill downward, before diving after a fish they’ve spotted.
Kingfishers live near streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and estuaries. They nest in burrows that they dig into soft earthen banks, usually adjacent to or directly over water. Kingfishers spend winters in areas where the water doesn’t freeze so that they have continual access to their aquatic foods. there are over 90 species of kingfisher throughout the world, only three exist in North America north of Mexico. Of these three, the Belted Kingfisher is by far the most widespread, while both male and female are flashy, conspicuous birds, the female Belted Kingfisher is actually more colorful than the male, a highly unusual trait in the avian world.
[title size=”1 to 6″]Belted Kingfisher is likely to be heard before it is seen. Its loud, dry rattling call may be heard around almost any areas around Brevard county.[/title]
The head, back, and upper parts of the wing and tail are slate blue. There is a white ring around the throat, a blue band across the breast, and, notably, an additional rusty ring across the belly of the female. The remainder of the belly is white. Its large head, larger bill, and stocky appearance create the impression of a bird that is somewhat out of proportion.