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Belted Kingfisher

Scientific Name:

Megaceryle alcyon




Most habitats near bodies of water


North and Central America, the Caribbean, and coastal northern South America


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Belted kingfishers are stocky birds most recognizable by their large heads relative to the rest of their bodies. These birds have shaggy crests on top of their heads, thick dagger-like bills, and medium-length tails. Females have broad rust-colored bands on their bellies, whereas males' bands are blue-grey in color. Juveniles belted kingfishers have irregular rusty spotting on their breast bands. Belted kingfishers can most often be spotted perched on edges of rivers and other bodies of water searching for fish.

Fast Facts:

  • Unlike most sexually dimorphic birds (meaning males and females look different), belted kingfisher females are more brightly colored than males.

  • Male belted kingfishers will often bring females fish as part of their courtship.

  • Kingfishers will cough up the indigestible parts of prey, such as bones and scales, in pellets.

  • The oldest known fossil in the kingfisher genus is two million years old.



Haley McGuire (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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