How Big Is A Belted Kingfisher

Last Updated on April 22, 2023 by naime

Have you ever caught a glimpse of a belted kingfisher perched on a branch overlooking a river or lake? These striking birds are known for their distinctive appearance and impressive hunting skills. But just how big is a belted kingfisher, and what makes them unique among other bird species?

Let’s start by examining the physical characteristics of these fascinating creatures. With their stocky bodies, large heads, and long bills, belted kingfishers can reach lengths of up to 13 inches (33 centimeters). They have short legs and feet that allow them to perch securely on branches near waterways while scanning for prey. Adult males typically weigh around 5 ounces (142 grams), while females are slightly larger at around 6 ounces (170 grams). Despite their small size, belted kingfishers are powerful hunters with sharp talons and beaks that enable them to catch fish as well as insects, crustaceans, and even small mammals.

Physical Characteristics Of Belted Kingfishers

When it comes to birds, few can match the majesty of the Belted Kingfisher. This avian creature is a sight to behold, with its striking blue and white plumage that gleams in the sun. But there’s more to this bird than just looks – it boasts some impressive physical characteristics too.

One thing that sets the Belted Kingfisher apart from other similar-looking species is its size. These birds are relatively large, measuring around 12 inches in length and weighing in at approximately four ounces. They also have a wingspan of up to two feet, which helps them when they take flight.

Another notable feature of these magnificent creatures is their distinctive call. If you’ve ever been near water where Belted Kingfishers are present, chances are you’ve heard their loud, rattling cry echoing across the landscape. It’s an unmistakable sound that adds to their allure.

Despite their size and strength, however, Belted Kingfishers can be surprisingly elusive creatures. They tend to prefer quiet, secluded areas near bodies of water like lakes and rivers where they can hunt for fish undisturbed. So if you do happen to catch a glimpse of one of these majestic birds out in the wild, consider yourself lucky!

Size And Length Of Belted Kingfishers

The belted kingfisher, also known as Megaceryle alcyon, is a common sight in North America. These birds are easily recognizable by their large heads and shaggy crests. Despite being small in size, they’re considered one of the most aggressive predators among birds.

Belted kingfishers can grow up to 13 inches long and weigh between 4-6 ounces. They have stocky bodies with short legs and broad wings that allow them to hover over water before diving in for prey. Males tend to be slightly larger than females but both sexes share similar physical characteristics.

One unique feature of these birds is their bill which is longer and thicker compared to other members of the Kingfisher family. Their bills are perfectly adapted for catching fish or crayfish from underwater environments. Due to this specific adaptation, they’re able to hunt across various aquatic ecosystems including rivers, lakes, estuaries, and even along coastlines.

In conclusion, the Belated Kingfisher might not be one of the largest bird species out there but it certainly makes up for its smaller size with its incredible hunting abilities. From their distinct appearance to their impressive fishing techniques, these avian creatures are truly fascinating! Anyone interested in observing them should keep an eye out near freshwater areas such as streams or ponds where they often make appearances during dawn and dusk hours.

Differences Between Male And Female Belted Kingfishers

As we discussed in the previous section, the size and length of Belted Kingfishers can vary. However, it is important to note that there are distinct differences between males and females of this species.

To better understand these differences, let’s imagine a forest with two trees standing side by side. The first tree represents male Belted Kingfishers and the second tree represents females. While they may look similar at first glance, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice several key distinctions.

Firstly, male Belted Kingfishers are typically larger than their female counterparts. This means that if you were to measure both birds from beak to tail feathers, the male would come out on top every time.

Secondly, males also have longer bills compared to females. This adaptation helps them catch prey more efficiently while hunting for food near bodies of water.

Thirdly, male Belted Kingfishers often have brighter plumage than females. Their blue-gray feathers stand out more prominently against their white bellies and rusty-colored belts.

Lastly, females tend to have a slightly different coloring around their eyes compared to males. They boast a distinctive rust-colored ring encircling each eye which adds an extra pop of color to their overall appearance.

As you can see, although male and female Belted Kingfishers share many similarities in terms of physical features and behavior patterns, there are still noticeable differences worth noting. These variations help us appreciate the unique beauty of each bird as well as gain deeper insights into their ecology and evolutionary adaptations.

Habitat And Range Of Belted Kingfishers

The belted kingfisher is a medium-sized bird that can be found throughout North America. These birds are known for their striking appearance, with blue-gray feathers and a distinctive crest on their heads. They also have a broad white collar around their necks, which gives them the name “belted” kingfisher.

Belted kingfishers prefer to live near bodies of water such as rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. They build nests in burrows along steep banks or cliffsides where they can easily dive into the water to catch fish. These birds are skilled hunters and will often hover over the water before diving headfirst to grab their prey.

The range of belted kingfishers extends from Alaska all the way down through Central America. During breeding season, these birds can be found across much of North America, including Canada and parts of Mexico. In winter months, some populations migrate southward to warmer regions while others remain in their territories year-round.

Overall, the habitat and range of belted kingfishers make them an important species in many ecosystems throughout North America. As top predators in aquatic environments, these birds play a crucial role in maintaining healthy fish populations and contributing to overall biodiversity.

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Diet And Hunting Techniques Of Belted Kingfishers

Belted Kingfishers, also known as ‘ringed plovers’, are common sights around freshwater habitats. Their diet consists of small fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans, which they hunt by diving from a perch or hovering over the water. They use their bill to stun or kill their prey and then swallow it whole. Their hunting technique is highly efficient, making them an important part of their local ecosystems.


If you’re wondering how big a belted kingfisher is, it’s about the size of a large grapefruit. But despite their small stature, these birds are fierce predators that specialize in hunting fish from waterways all over North America.

Belted kingfishers have an interesting hunting technique that involves plunging headfirst into the water to catch their prey. They use their long beaks to spear fish and then carry them back to a perch where they can eat in peace. Their diet consists almost entirely of fish – usually small ones like minnows or shiners – but they’ll also eat crustaceans and insects if necessary.

Interestingly, belted kingfishers don’t have waterproof feathers like most other aquatic birds. Instead, they rely on air pockets in their plumage to keep them buoyant while swimming underwater. This allows them to stay submerged for up to 30 seconds at a time as they search for their next meal.

Despite being relatively small birds, belted kingfishers play an important role in many freshwater ecosystems. By controlling populations of smaller fish species, they help maintain balance within these complex food webs. So even though you might not think much of this little bird at first glance, it’s actually a vital part of its environment!

Hunting Techniques

Now that we’ve discussed the diet of belted kingfishers, let’s dive into their hunting techniques. These birds are skilled predators that have developed unique methods for catching fish in various waterways across North America. Their primary technique involves diving headfirst into the water to catch their prey using their long beaks.

Belted kingfishers use a combination of vision and hearing to pinpoint the location of fish below the surface. Once they spot one, they’ll fly above it and hover briefly before plunging straight down at incredible speeds – up to 25 mph! The force of impact stuns or kills the fish, making it easier for these small birds to retrieve them with their sharp beaks.

After capturing a fish, belted kingfishers will often carry it back to a nearby perch where they can eat without fear of losing their meal. They’ll also defend their fishing territories fiercely against other birds or potential predators who might try to steal from them.

Overall, belted kingfishers are fascinating creatures that have adapted unique strategies for surviving in freshwater ecosystems. By understanding how they hunt and feed themselves, we gain insight into the complex food webs that exist within our natural environments.

Vocalizations And Communication Of Belted Kingfishers

As the belted kingfisher perches on a branch overlooking the water, it lets out its distinctive rattling call. This sound is just one of many vocalizations used by these birds to communicate with each other.

During breeding season, males and females engage in an elaborate courtship display that involves calling back and forth while flying in circles around each other. They also use their calls to establish territory boundaries and warn off potential threats.

But communication for belted kingfishers isn’t limited to vocalizations alone. These birds are known for their impressive diving abilities, plunging headfirst into the water at high speeds to catch fish. When they do so, they create a loud splash that can be heard from quite a distance away. It’s thought that this splashing serves as yet another form of communication – perhaps announcing their presence or warning others to stay away.

Overall, the vocalizations and behaviors of belted kingfishers reveal much about their social lives and relationships with others in their environment. As researchers continue to study these fascinating birds, we’re sure to uncover even more insights into how they communicate and interact with the world around them.

Breeding And Nesting Habits Of Belted Kingfishers

After learning about the vocalizations and communication of Belted Kingfishers, it’s only natural to wonder how big these birds are. The answer is that they are medium-sized, with an average length of around 13 inches (33 cm) and a wingspan of approximately 20 inches (51 cm).

Despite their relatively small size, Belted Kingfishers have a bold and distinctive appearance. They have shaggy crests on their heads, thick bills, and robust bodies with blue-gray feathers above and white below. Males can be distinguished from females by the additional rusty-brown band across their chests.

Breeding and nesting habits of Belted Kingfishers are also fascinating to study. These birds typically mate for life and establish territories near water sources such as rivers, lakes, or streams. During courtship displays, males will offer fish to females as gifts while both emit loud rattling calls.

In preparation for breeding season in late spring or early summer, Belted Kingfishers excavate burrows into steep earthen banks or sandy cliffs alongside waterways. Inside these tunnels up to eight feet long, they construct nests using sticks and other vegetation before laying clutches of four to six eggs at a time.

  • Three interesting facts about belted kingfisher:
  • Their eyesight is so sharp that they can see through water.
  • They consume large quantities of fish but also eat crayfish, insects, frogs, snakes, worms and even small mammals like mice.
  • Although they usually hunt alone during non-breeding periods Belted Kingfishers may form flocks numbering in the hundreds during migration.

Observing the behavior of Belted Kingfishers throughout various stages of their lives provides valuable insight into avian biology. From listening to their distinct vocalizations to watching them build intricate nests within riverbanks along freshwater sources – there’s always something new to learn about this captivating species.

Conservation Status And Threats To Belted Kingfishers

Belted kingfishers might be small in size, but their impact on the ecosystem is massive. These birds are responsible for keeping aquatic ecosystems healthy by controlling populations of fish and other aquatic creatures. Unfortunately, these charismatic birds are facing a number of threats that could lead to their decline.

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One major threat to belted kingfishers is habitat loss due to human activities such as land development and pollution. As wetlands and other waterways disappear or become contaminated, belted kingfishers lose important nesting sites and food sources. Because they require clean bodies of water to hunt and breed, any changes to their environment can have devastating effects.

Another major threat comes from predators like raccoons, snakes, and mink who prey on eggs and chicks in nests built along riverbanks. Climate change also poses a risk as rising temperatures can cause shifts in bird migration patterns and alter the timing of breeding seasons.

To illustrate the severity of these threats, here’s a table outlining the current conservation status of belted kingfishers across North America:

Country Conservation Status
USA Least Concern
Canada Special Concern
Mexico Endangered

As you can see, while belted kingfishers aren’t currently threatened with extinction, they do face challenges in certain parts of their range. It’s up to all of us to protect our natural resources and ensure that these beautiful birds continue to thrive.

By taking steps now to address issues like habitat destruction, pollution, predation, and climate change we can help preserve vital ecosystems where belted kingfishers live. With continued effort from scientists, wildlife biologists, government officials, conservation organizations & everyday citizens alike – there’s hope for protecting not just this one species but many others too!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Belted Kingfishers Live?

Belted Kingfishers are fascinating birds and have been known to live for quite some time. These birds can survive up to 7 years in the wild, although that number varies depending on their habitat and behavior patterns. Interestingly enough, female Belted Kingfishers tend to outlive males due to a variety of factors such as their size and weight. It’s worth noting though, that these beautiful creatures face numerous threats including human development and climate change which may impact their longevity. As ornithologists continue to study this species, we hope to learn more about how we can protect them and ensure their survival for generations to come.

What Is The Average Wingspan Of A Belted Kingfisher?

The average wingspan of a belted kingfisher is approximately 20 inches, making it one of the larger bird species found in North America. These impressive birds are known for their striking blue and white plumage, as well as their distinctive crested heads and long bills. Despite their size, belted kingfishers have an agile flying ability that allows them to swoop down quickly from above to catch fish in the water below. While they may not be the largest birds around, these fascinating creatures certainly make up for it with their unique physical characteristics and hunting skills.

Do Belted Kingfishers Migrate?

Belted kingfishers are fascinating birds that can be found across North America. While they may not be the largest or most colorful of bird species, their unique behaviors and characteristics make them a favorite among birdwatchers and ornithologists alike. One common question people have about these birds is whether or not they migrate. The answer is yes – belted kingfishers are considered to be partial migrants, meaning that while some individuals will stay in one place year-round, others will migrate southward during the winter months. This behavior can vary depending on region and climate, but overall it’s clear that belted kingfishers are adaptable creatures with an interesting migration pattern to study.

How Many Eggs Do Belted Kingfishers Lay In A Nest?

Alright, let’s talk about the number of eggs that belted kingfishers lay in their nests. These birds are known to be cavity dwellers and typically excavate a burrow into an earthen bank or sand pit. Once they’ve found a suitable location, the female will lay between 5-8 pure white eggs. Interestingly enough, both the male and female take turns incubating the eggs for roughly 22-24 days until they hatch. The young chicks then stay in the nest for another 27-29 days before leaving on their own. It’s fascinating how these little creatures have adapted so well to their environment!

Can Belted Kingfishers Swim Underwater?

Belted kingfishers are known for their impressive diving skills, allowing them to catch fish and other aquatic prey. But can they swim underwater? The answer is yes! These birds have adapted to life near water with specialized features such as a streamlined body shape and waterproof feathers that allow them to maneuver easily in the water. They use their wings to propel themselves forward while holding their breath for up to 30 seconds at a time. So next time you spot a belted kingfisher perched on a branch near the water’s edge, remember that this bird is not just an expert fisherman but also an accomplished underwater swimmer.


So, how big is a belted kingfisher? These birds are about the size of an American robin, with a length of 11 to 13 inches and a weight of around 5 ounces. However, their most striking feature may be their large heads and long pointed bills.

Belted kingfishers can live up to six years in the wild and have an average wingspan of roughly two feet. They are found throughout North America, but some populations do migrate south for the winter. Females will lay anywhere from five to eight eggs in a nest lined with fish bones or other debris near a body of water. And while they do not swim underwater like ducks, belted kingfishers are skilled divers that can plunge into water at high speeds to catch prey.

Watching a belted kingfisher hunt along the shoreline is like witnessing nature’s own version of synchronized swimming. As these birds hover over the water before diving headfirst into it, you might find yourself holding your breath too – waiting to see if they’ll emerge victorious with a tasty meal. Their sleek design and swift movements make them masters of their aquatic domain, reminding us all that even small creatures can pack a powerful punch when it comes to survival tactics in the animal kingdom.

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