Plate 28: Belted Kingfisher

Megaceryle alcyon

Nests & Eggs: Belted Kingfisher

Energetic patroller of shores and streams well known for its piercing, loud, and harsh cry.

Rarely in the bird world, is the female more colorful than the male. The Belted Kingfisher is one example, for the female sports brown flanks and breastband in addition to the blue-gray belt worn by her mate. These birds, larger than Robins, can be confused only with the Blue Jay; however, their plumage is blue-gray. Near creeks, ponds, lakes or other bodies of water they may be seen flying low over the water or hovering momentarily before plunging after some minnow, crayfish or other food which has attracted their attention. They have choice perches over the water and fly from one spot to another, always on the lookout for unwary prey. They are rather solitary in habits, each pair defending its territory against all comers.

The large head and beak, uneven crest, habit of flapping and sailing, the series of call notes often referred to as a rattle, are distinctly kingfisher. Nesting holes are dug in steep banks and extend several feet before ending in an enlarged space which holds the eggs and young. Both birds help with the digging using their strong bills to loosen the dirt and their flatly constructed feet to kick it out.

Kingfishers eat small fry which abound in such numbers that a natural check is desirable.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol. I

  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the belted kingfisher story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XXVIII: Belted Kingfisher, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Belted Kingfisher at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The kingfisher is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XXI. A Fishing Party.

Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Belted Kingfisher Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Belted Kingfisher
Bird picture for notebook.

Rattles the Kingfisher
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Belted Kingfisher Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

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