Article and pictures by Kathryn Mann
A couple of times a year I see a Belted Kingfisher perched on a tree near a small pond. They are about 13 inches in length and have a long wingspan of nearly two feet.
Belted Kingfisher sitting by a small pond just inside of Bartlesville city limits
Belted Kingfishers have large head with a beautiful bushy crest and a large thick bill. The male is bluish gray on top with white below. They have gray stripe across their breast and a white collar. Females are similar to the male but also have a dark orange band on their belly.
Female Belted Kingfisher near Oologah Lake
Belted Kingfishers typically live for seven years. Those who live in Oklahoma primarily eat small fish and insects, whereas those that live near the ocean eat oysters and squid, as well as fish.
Belted Kingfishers sometimes hover over water looking for a fish, and then dive head first when they spot a victim.
These birds uses their strong feet and bill to dig their nests into burrows near water.
Belted Kingfisher flying over Wynona, Oklahoma
Belted Kingfishers are a favorite prey of Oklahoma's Red-Tailed Hawks. They often avoid being captured by diving into water.
Belted Kingfishers are usually solitary except during nesting and mating season. They are monogamous.