Upright Perching Water Birds

Belted Kingfisher

Ceryle alcyon
Belted Kingfisher thumbnail
Length: 13 in. (33 cm )
Aptly named, this bird eats mainly fish, but this kingfisher is not above taking an occasional aquatic insect, frog, lizard, small bird, mouse or even fruits. The kingfisher sits patiently on an exposed twig over fresh or saltwater or hovers momentarily over the water\'s surface to dive head first into the water and grab the prey with its long and sharp bill. The nest is a tunnel 3-15 ft 1-5 m) long and dug horizontally by the kingfishers into vertical sandy banks over the water. At the end of the tunnel a rounded and grass-floored nest chamber holds the eggs and later the young. Rarely the belted kingfisher will nest in a tree cavity. The newly fledged young are taught how to fish by the adults dropping dead fish in the water in front of them. During the winter, males and females maintain separate territories.

The four-digit banding code is BEKI.

Male | Jim Burns

Female | Robert Shantz


Marsh / swamp

Open water

Riparian / River forest
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View Citation

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Belted Kingfisher
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: July 13, 2017
  • Date accessed: December 10, 2018
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/belted-kingfisher

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2017, July 13). Belted Kingfisher. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved December 10, 2018 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/belted-kingfisher

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Belted Kingfisher". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 July, 2017. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/belted-kingfisher

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Belted Kingfisher". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 13 Jul 2017. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 10 Dec 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/bird/belted-kingfisher

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
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