Belted Kingfisher    Ceryle alcyon

Keeping a sharp lookout for signs of it's fish prey, this male Belted Kingfisher is ready to attack. The female is similar in size but has a rusty belt along with the blue belt.

The Belted Kingfisher is commonly seen along the marine shoreline of south Puget Sound as well as along streams and lakes in the area. During the winter many individuals will move south to more hospitable areas with open water. However, individuals have occasionally been present locally throughout mild winters. This species ranges throughout North America with some flying as far south as Central America for the winter.

This small avian predator waits on limbs or piling looking for small fish to swim near the surface. Swooping down, it dives into the water grabbing the unsuspecting victim. They will also hover above the water like a helicopter for several seconds looking for prey.

Prey are not eaten immediately but are taken to a perch where they are repeatedly slapped on the hard surface. The stunned prey can then be easily swallowed.

Usually solitary, couples will get together in spring to court and raise young. Both parents care for the young which are housed in tunnels dug into clay banks along the Puget Sound shoreline. The young learn to fish with their parents assistance. The adults will drop dead fish into the water for the young to retrieve. As the young grow older they will stick together for several weeks flying about the local area in mock chases.