My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon

This species has a large head with a shaggy crest. Its long, heavy bill is black with a grey base. These features are common in many kingfisher species. This kingfisher shows sexual dimorphism, with the female more brightly colored than the male. Both sexes have a slate blue head, large white collar, a large blue band on the breast, and white underparts. The back and wings are slate blue with black feather tips with little white dots. The female features a rufus band across the upper belly that extends down the flanks.

The Belted Kingfisher is often seen perched prominently on trees, posts, or other suitable “watch points” close to water before plunging in head first after its fish prey. They also eat amphibians, small crustaceans, insects, small mammals and reptiles.

This bird nests in a horizontal tunnel made in a river bank or sand bank and excavated by both parents. The female lays five to eight eggs and both adults incubate the eggs and feed the young.

On to the photos:

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher in flight

Belted Kingfisher in flight

Belted Kingfisher in flight

Belted Kingfisher in flight

Belted Kingfisher in flight

Belted Kingfisher in flight

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

Belted Kingfisher with its catch

This is number 45 in my photo life list, only 305 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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8 responses

  1. plantsamazeme

    We usually hear the kingfisher before we see him. They are special.
    Nice shots!

    March 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    • Thanks I usually hear them and watch them fly away before I can get a photo.

      March 2, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  2. This is another one I’ve never met in person. Or could have walked right by and not known.

    March 2, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    • You’d know, they are noisy things, always chattering away, and I forgot to add that to the post. They eat fish, and are always found around water.

      March 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm

  3. Loved the photos and the background information was great. I applaud your chosen vision quest. Good luck on your journey.

    March 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    • Thank you! I’ll need all the luck I can get!

      March 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm

  4. Great photos! I too hear these birds more than I see them, but they are a blast to watch, especially when they have a fish.

    March 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    • Thanks! I played around last year trying to get a shot of them as they hit the water, but that’s tough to time correctly. They are fun to watch though.

      March 3, 2013 at 1:17 am