Posts Tagged: Belted Kingfisher

Female Belted Kingfisher

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Female Belted Kingfisher in flight

I patiently watched this Female Belted Kingfisher perched on this dead snag. I expected she would swoop down and grab a fish. After what seemed like ages, she took off but passed behind the perch, showing me her tail feathers. But she graciously circled back in front of the snag, allowing me an opportunity for a flight shot. Belted Kingfishers devote a lot of time sitting alone along the edge of streams, watching the water and hunting for fish. They disappear rapidly down to the water to dive for fish, but this one left her favorite fishing spot just to shop for a better vantage point. This pretty lady flew to another snag because maybe the fish are tastier on the other side of the water?

Belted Kingfisher with fish

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I enjoy the challenge of photographing Kingfishers in flight. They fly rapidly, darting around over the water as they hunt for fish. They dive headfirst into the water and grab the prey with their dagger-like bill. I have learned by watching and waiting, that they often will come back to the same perch with their bounty. This Female Belted Kingfisher rewarded me as she returned to the dead palm stump she was hunting from with her fish.

Male Belted Kingfisher

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This Male Belted Kingfisher is just taking off in flight, rising vertically to go hunting for fish. The Belted Kingfisher is very challenging to photograph because they are small and incredibly fast as they dart around searching for fish. The kingfisher plunges head first into the water to grab their food. They nest along the banks of rivers or estuaries where the monogamous pair dig a burrow sometimes as deep as 15 feet. They are typically solitary and are frequently spotted on a perch above the water.

Belted Kingfisher

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Female Belted Kingfisher in flight over water with wings aloft (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)

These small birds with their large heads, long pointed beaks and rapid flight are incredibly challenging to photograph in flight. On a trip to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge last fall I watched several of these little speedy fliers zip around over the water. They are so quick I can understand why they are called Kingfishers as they swiftly catch fish and dart back to safety to eat their meal.