The Bird Book/Kingfishers

The Bird Book by Chester A. Reed
Kingfishers: Family Alcedinidae



390. BELTED KINGFISHER. Ceryle alcyon.

Range. Whole of North America, breeding from southern United States, northward and wintering from the southern parts of its breeding range, southward.

This well known bird is abundant in all localities near water, where its rattling notes are among the most familiar of sounds. Their food is almost entirely of small fish, which they catch by plunging upon from their perch on an old dead limb overhanging the water, or by hovering in the air like an Os- / prey. Their nests / are located at the [ : end of burrows in > 1 sand banks or the banks of creeks and rivers. These tunnels, which are dug by the birds, generally commence two or three feet from the top of the bank and extend back from six to eight feet, either in a straight line or curved; the end is enlarged to form a suitable nesting place, in which from five to eight eggs are laid. They are glossy and pure white in color. Size 1.35 x 1.05. Data. Lake Quinsigamond, Massachusetts, June 6, 1900. 7 eggs at the end of a 6 foot tunnel in a sand bank. Bird removed by hand from the nest. Collector, C. E. Howe.


Belted Kingfisher

[390.1.] RINGED KINGFISHER. Ceryle torquata.

Range. Mexico, north casually to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

This handsome species is much larger than the Belted Kingfisher and the underparts are nearly all bright chestnut, except the white throat. They nest in river banks the same as the common American species, and the eggs are white, but larger. Size 1.45 x 1.10.




Ceryle americana septentrionalis

Range. Southern Texas, south through Mexcio.

This variety is much smaller than the Belted, length 8 inches, and is a lustrous greenish above, variously speckled with white, and is white below, spotted with greenish. It is a common and resident species in southern Texas, where it lays its eggs in holes in the banks along streams. The eggs are white and glossy, and measure .95 x .70.