Belted Kingfisher

photo by Phil Swanson (female bird)

Megaceryle alcyon
L 13″ (33 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Loud, dry rattle; often prolonged.

Description: Large head; long, heavy bill; crested. Male is bluish-gray above; white below; and has a thick bluish-gray breast band. Female is similar but has an additional rufous belly band below the bluish-gray one. Juvenile resembles adult but has rusty spotting in the breast band.

Behavior: Nests are excavated in almost vertical earthen exposures in bluffs, road cuts, and eroded streambeds.

belted kingfisher
Habitat: Found near various water bodies which support populations of fish, amphibians, and other aquatic life.

Where in Nebraska: Common spring and fall migrant and summer resident across the state. Uncommon winter resident if open water is still available. Regular breeder.

Fun Facts: In Belted Kingfishers, the female is “showier” than the male. She has two breast bands instead of one, one is blue and the other is rufous.

Additional Information: The only kingfisher seen in most of North America.

female Belted Kingfisher - photo by Phil Swanson female Belted Kingfisher - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)