The Travels of Tug 44

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfishers are small birds, about blue jay sized. They perch on branches overhanging water, watching for small fish, tadpoles and other critters. When they spot one, they fly into the water, head first usually with a big splash, and catch the critter with their beak. This one is a male.   high-res

The single blue belt across the top of his chest indicates this is a male. In some light, the blue belt has some brown in it. They can be easily spotted by listening for the loud rattling call they often make while flying.   high-res

This Belted Kingfisher is a female, as shown by the 2nd belt on her chest which is reddish-brown.   high-res

This female Belted Kingfisher has her crest down, normally they display it up, but occasionally it's down as shown here. Note her 2nd belt which is reddish-brown and the additional reddish-brown on her flanks. Kingfishers are one of the few birds where the female has more decoration than the male.   high-res

And this is their teenaged daughter. Immature females show the beginnings of the 2nd brown belt but it doesn't go all the way across the chest, as seen here.   high-res

Another look at the immature female Belted Kingfisher. Nesting is most unusual, they drill a tunnel into the dirt on the riverbank, between 3 and 6 feet long and that's where eggs are laid and the young are reared. They do not use any nesting materials. The female usually incubates at night and the male does the day shift.   high-res

October 2017: Spotted this male Belted Kingfisher flying along a swampy section of the Hudson River. They often make a fast rattling call as they fly.   high-res

The Belted Kingfisher, a blue and white streak along the river.

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