The Belted Kingfisher can
often be spotted on a perch overlooking the water, with its head down as it
scans the water below for suitable prey. They are plunge divers, diving
headfirst to grab prey (usually small fish) near the water's surface. The
female (see bottom photo) is actually more colorful than the male (see photo to
the right), with a chestnut colored band
across the belly that the male lacks.
be found near practically any aquatic habitat, especially in the winter and the
fall. They are more particular in the summer, when they require aquatic
habitats with nearby dirt banks for their nesting burrows.
Diet: Primarily feeds on small
fish. They will also eat other aquatic animals including frogs, tadpoles,
crayfish, and aquatic insects. They occasionally feed away from water and
will take mice and other small rodents, lizards, small snakes, and small birds.
Behavior: Observes from a perch over water,
plunging head first into the water after prey when spotted. Also will
hover over water in search of prey.
Nesting: May through July
Migration: Summers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Birds in the northern part of its
range usually migrate southward in the fall, but they can be found in winter in
the north as long as open water is available. They are generally a rare occurrence
in South Dakota in the winter, however.
Similar Species: Similar to other Kingfishers, but the Belted
Kingfisher is the only one found in South Dakota. In Texas, possibly
confused with the Ringed Kingfisher, a
much larger species.
Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable with slight decreases in parts of
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Belted Kingfisher"
eNature.com: Belted Kingfisher
Photo Information: Top Photo (Male): February 9th,
2003 -- Beaver pond on Sergeant Creek in Newton Hills State Park -- Terry Sohl
Bottom Photo (Female): April 5th, 2003 -- Pierre, SD --
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Belted Kingfisher photos.