Belted Kingfisher

Megaceryle alcyon




Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

5 - 8

Incubation Days:

22 - 24

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In bank beside water.

Nest Material:

Usually no lining, but may have debris with undigested fish bones and scales.


Some migrate



Belted Kingfisher: A medium-sized kingfisher with a bushy and rather distinct bluish-gray head. They have a distinct crest and a white frontal mark; white collar; large, dagger-like bill.  They have a very narrow semicircle under their eye. Upperparts are blue-gray and underparts are white. Iris is dark brown. Legs and feet are gray. Male has blue-gray breast band. Female has blue-gray breast band and chestnut-brown belly band. Juvenile is like the adult female but has a rufous wash to the gray breast band, more prominent in juvenile females.

Range and Habitat

Belted Kingfisher: Breeds from Alaska eastward across southern Canada and south throughout most of U.S. Spends winters on the Pacific coast north to southeastern Alaska, and throughout the south, north to the Great Lakes and along the Atlantic coast to New England. Preferred habitats include rivers, lakes, and saltwater estuaries.

Breeding and Nesting

Belted Kingfisher: Five to eight white eggs are laid in a nesting cavity at the end of a long tunnel excavated by the parents, usually in a riverbank of sand or clay. Incubation ranges from 22 to 24 days and is carried out by both parents, with the female sitting through the night and the male taking her place in the early morning hours.

Foraging and Feeding

Belted Kingfisher: Their diet includes fish, mollusks, crustaceans, insects, amphibians, reptiles, young birds, small mammals and even berries. Generally they prey on fish that inhabit shallow water or swim near the surface. Most fish are caught below the surface. These birds plunge dive for prey. Clear water and an unobstructed view of prey are essential for successful foraging.


Belted Kingfisher: Emits a loud, penetrating rattle, given on the wing and when perched. Sounds like a heavy fishing reel.

Similar Species

Belted Kingfisher: Ringed Kingfisher is larger and has an entirely red belly band.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X