Saturday, November 5, 2016

Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)



Male Belted Kingfisher on a traditional perch hunting over the St. Johns river marsh in Florida. He's having a bad hair day due to high winds.  For a nice example of a female Belted Kingfisher see:

Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)
With its rattling call, large crested head, and habit of
perching conspicuously, the Belted Kingfisher is familiar to
many Floridians, even those with only a casual interest in
birds. Kingfishers breed as far north as Alaska and winter
south to northern South America.
Habitat. Because it usually nests in burrows dug into
embankments, the breeding range of the Belted
Kingfisher is limited to areas of the state containing river
bluffs or disturbed areas, such as canal banks, borrow
ponds, and mine sites.
As their name suggests, these birds feed largely on fish,
but they also eat insects, crayfish, frogs, young birds,
small rodents, and berries.
Belted Kingfishers typically select clay or sand banks for
breeding. Both adults dig the burrow, using their bills and
feet. The nesting chamber is built at the end of the
burrow and may be up to 5 m (15 ft) in length, but is
usually 1 to 2 m (3 to 6 ft) long (Bent 1940). In this
protected chamber, 4 or 5 unmarked white eggs are laid
from May through July (Stevenson and Anderson 1994).
Both adults share in incubation, which takes 23 or 24
days. Young are fed regurgitant produced by their parents (Wheelock 1905) and fledge at about 23 days of age
One brood is raised per year.
Seasonal Occurrence. Belted Kingfishers are resident in Florida, although more common in the Panhandle an
north Florida in summer, and central and south Florida in winter. They nest April through July.
Status. Belted Kingfishers are rare and very local breeders in the peninsula, although more widespread and
common in the Panhandle. While many Panhandle breeding records were probably located in natural river and
stream banks, the majority of the confirmed breeding records outside the Panhandle were located in artificially
created embankments.
http://legacy.myfwc.com/bba/docs/bba_BEKI.pdf

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Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)