Belted Kingfisher

Kingfishers are medium-sized (10-45 cm) birds with stocky, brightly-coloured bodies and large heads with strong bills. Despite their names, they feed on a variety of prey other than fish. The family of approximately ninety-five species (family Alcedinidae, order Coraciiformes) are found on all continents other than Antarctica. They are most numerous in the tropics.

The belted kingfisher occurs throughout North America. It is a summer resident of Saskatchewan, wherever there are sufficient large freshwater bodies to support populations of fish. They are seen sitting on tree branches and telephone wires above the water before they dive down for fish, then flying off to feed their young in their nest burrows in river or lake banks. Their distinctive large head with the loose crest of feathers and their slate-blue back and chesnut breast make them easily recognizable.

Diane Secoy

Further Reading

Alsop, Fred J., III. 2002. Birds of Canada. New York: Dorling Kindersley Handbooks; Godfrey, W. Earl. 1986 (revised edition). Birds of Canada. Ottawa: National Museum of Natural Sciences.