Belted Kingfisher

Male Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher
(Megaceryle alcyon)

Order:  Coraciiformes
Family:  Alcedinidae

Male Belted Kingfisher
Photo © B. Kushner

Belted Kingfisher Information

Length:  13"

Habitat:  Edges of ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal bays; road cuts and gravel pits near clear, open water. Requires perches above water for spotting prey. During breeding season, requires exposed dirt banks for nest sites.

Diet:  Small fish (staple), amphibians, reptiles, crayfish, mollusks, insects, small mammals. Occasionally, wild fruits.

  Calls of the Belted Kingfisher

   Another photo of the Belted Kingfisher

Additional Information

Belted Kingfisher
Photo, description, habitat, behavior, diet, nesting, migration status, and conservation status. Includes range map and song. (From BirdWeb)

Female Belted Kingfisher

Female Belted Kingfisher

© B. Kushner

Belted Kingfisher
Identification Tips

  • Large, short-legged, big-headed, big-billed bird
  • Hovers over water and dives headfirst into water in pursuit of fish
  • Slate blue head, with white spot near lores
  • White chin, throat and neck
  • Slate blue breastband
  • Slate blue back and upperwing coverts with small white spots
  • Slate blue tail with numerous dark and light bands
Adult Male
  • Entirely white belly
Adult Female
  • White underparts with reddish belly band extending down flanks

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Belted Kingfisher Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

The Belted Kingfisher is found year-round throughout New England with the exception of most of the state of Maine, where is generally found only during breeding season.

Winter Map from eBird

Sightings of the Belted Kingfisher Nov-Mar from 1900 to the present

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS