About The Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher is a common bird seen near the water. It is about 28-35 cm (11-14 in) long, with a wingspan of 48-58 cm (19-23 in) and a weight of 140-170 grams. A medium sized bird, it has a large head with a distinctive shaggy crest. Its bill is thick and large.

The Belted Kingfisher has a dark blue head and back while its throat and collar are white. Its belly and chest are also white but it has a blue or red band on its breast. It has a short tail which is generally blue on top but has white bands on the sides and on the bottom. Its eyes are dark and its legs are really small and slate gray and a little yellowish on the back.

The male and female birds do not have too many different characteristics. However, the female is more brightly colored and may have red bands on its chest while the male only has blue. Juvenile birds are similar to the adult birds.

The Belted Kingfisher Nesting Preferences

The Belted Kingfisher likes to nest in banks near the water. It uses its strong feet and bill to dig burrows which will serve as their nest. The burrow is usually 3’ to 6’ deep, either horizontal or slopes upward slightly. The nest-burrow may or may not be lined. Occasionally, leaves and or grass is used to line the cavity.

A female Kingfisher may lay 5-8 eggs at one time. The eggs are white and unmarked. Incubation lasts from 23-24 days.

Building a Birdhouse For The Belted Kingfisher

As the Belted Kingfisher prefers to nest in burrows in sandy soil near the water, birdhouses for other birds would not be suitable for this bird. As such, it is not recommended to build a birdhouse for the Belted Kingfisher up in trees, especially if you do not live near the water. If you have a steep bank near a body of water, you might be able to host a pair of Belted Kingfishers. You can also dig a burrow of about 3 to 6 feet long, as this is the general dimensions of a Belted Kingfisher’s nest.

The Belted Kingfisher Mating Habits

The Belted Kingfisher is by nature a solitary bird. However, during the mating and nesting season, they pair off just like other birds. The Belted Kingfisher is a monogamous bird.

The Belted Kingfisher Feeding Preferences

As the name obviously implies, the Belted Kingfisher feeds mainly on fish. However, they also feed on other aquatic animals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, young birds, mice, and even berries at times. To catch its prey, the Belted Kingfisher hovers above the water or sits on a perch and then dives headfirst into the water when it spies its food. It announces its intentions by calling out with its loud rattling cry.

Interesting Belted Kingfisher Facts

  • In contrast with popular notion, man’s activities actually benefit this bird. Road building and gravel pits create banks wherein the Belted Kingfisher can build its nest, thus expanding its nesting range.
  • In order to kill its prey, the Belted Kingfisher pounds it on the perch.
  • The male and female Belted Kingfisher help each other in digging to build the nest.