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Belted kingfisher

Ceryle alcyon

(Photo from The Nevis Biodiversity Project)

Common name:

belted kingfisher (en); guarda-rios-americano (pt); martin-pêcheur d’Amerique (fr); martín gigante norteamericano (es); gürtelfischer (de)

Order Coraciiformes
Family Alcedinidae

This species is found breeding throughout North America. The northern population migrate south to winter in the southernmost United States, in Mexico, Central America and northern Colombia, Venezuela and Suriname.

This large kingfisher is 28-35 cm long and has a wingspan of 48-58 cm. They weigh 140-170 g.

Belted kingfishers are found along streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

They mostly eat fishes, amphibians, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects, but will sometimes also eat small rodents, reptiles and even berries.

Belted kingfishers nest in a deep tunnel, which they dig in a sandy bank. There the female lays 5-8 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 23-24 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 18-23 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population of 2 million individuals. The overall population has had stable population trends over the last 40 years, but some local declines have been detected.
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