Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Belted Kingfisher
 
 

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  Order Coraciiformes - Rollers, Motmots, Todies, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters
   Family Alcedinidae - Kingfishers
      Subfamily Cerylinae - Water Kingfishers

  Coraciiforms are usually colorful and typically show syndactyly, a fusion of two of the three forward-directed toes.
Water Kingfishers have large and crested heads, large, stout bills, small feet, and short tails. They plunge dive to capture fish (or feed on terrestrial prey). They nest in holes and have loud, raucous calls.
     
     
  Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
 
Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        YEAR ROUND - Common, breeds / Common, breeds?
            EDGES NEAR WATER
MORE PICTURES
 
   The Belted Kingfisher has a long heavy bill and short legs. They have a blue-gray head and a shaggy gray crest with a gray back and throat band. Females also have rufous along the flanks and banding the breast.
Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
   
Belted Kingfisher. Male. Dayton, TN.
Female. ACE Basin
   
Photos by Ed Konrad
   
  RANGE: Belted Kingfishers are widespread, breeding across sub-Arctic North America, south to central Florida in the east and the Sonoran desert in the west. In winter, they withdraw from Canada and the upper plains states, moving south to northern South America.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. Kingfishers dig a horizontal burrow in a vertical bank, usually near water. Both sexes build and remove the excavated material. The burrow is usually 3 - 6 feet in length (and may be 15' long). The nest chamber is lined with grass or leaf litter. (They occasionally use a tree cavity.) Females lay 6-7 (5-8) eggs and the female incubates at night, the male in the early morning. Young are altricial and are fed partially digested fish at first. Later they are fed whole fish. The young leave the nest after 27-29 (34-36) days.
   Nestlings huddle to conserve heat in a group for the first week or so. Parents teach their young to fish by dropping dead fish in the water for their retrieval. When young can capture live prey they are forced from the natal territory
   Non-breeding birds defend feeding territories.
  DIET: Kingfishers usually eat fish (4-5" long) but may also take invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, young birds, mice, and - on the coast - oysters and squid. They watch for fish from a perch or may hover before diving. They catch fish by plunge-diving into the water. They eject pellets containing undigested waste.
  VOICE: Their voice is a long, uneven rattle, often given in flight.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook. Kiawah - uncommon summer, common fall through spring. Edisto - resident.
      Coastal - fairly common permanent resident. Hilton Head - common permanent resident. Cape Romain - common year-round, breeds.          Huntington Beach - common September - April; uncommon May - August
      Caw Caw - common/rare/common/common. ACE - common/absent (breeds)/common/common.
   CBC: ACE 58, 30, 52, 70, 76, 48, 47, 102, 73; Charleston 56, 61, 53, 43, 23, 38, 30, 61, 39;
               St Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 27, 42; Hilton Head 79, 177, 60, 75, 69, 58, 63; Sun City/Okatie 16, 32, 14, 51, 28, 28, 27;
            McClellanville 44, 17, 58, 41, nc, 41, 61, 71; Winyah Bay x, x, 36, 69, 58, 34, 51, 40;
               Litchfield/Pawley's 35, 35, 39, 61, 30, 43, 56, 49.
   SCBBA: Records in all coastal counties (and throughout the state).
   P&G: Resident, fairly common in winter, uncommon in summer. Maximum 104, Awendaw/Cape Romain, 1 January 1966. Egg dates: 15 April - 21 April.
   Avendex: 1 record (maximum, above)
   Potter: Resident throughout the Carolinas.
  ●  Common. Look for them along any lake or  waterway (even perched on wires inspecting a field) on Seabrook. They don't feed in the surf, but they are over the Kiawah River and marshes behind our beach and on our lakes and marshes. They are often seen hovering motionless as they track a fish. Their loud rattle gives them away wherever they are. They are potential breeders on Seabrook.
       
    Banner - Belted Kingfisher - Ashepoo.
       
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