Belted Kingfishers Feeding Their Young

by Larry Jordan on June 26, 2012

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) female photos by Larry Jordan

I was out at Lema Ranch checking on Bluebird houses Sunday and heard the rattling commotion of the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon).  I turned to see three Kingfishers flying in and around a willow tree overhanging Secluded Pond, one of the five ponds on the property. Click on photos for full sized images.

Well, I’ve never seen more than two Belted Kingfishers in one place and they were chasing each other. You see, the Belted Kingfisher is a solitary bird that vigorously defends its territory, except during breeding season, which of course, this is.

Diverting my attention from the (what I later discovered was an empty) Bluebird nest box, I slowly made my way toward said willow tree trying not to spook the birds. Belted Kingfishers notoriously flush easily and I really wanted to see what was going on.

This is what I found. “My parents told me to stay here and be quiet.”

Hidden among the willow branches was the juvenile Kingfisher. It wasn’t easy to spot, even though I saw exactly where it was from my prior location.

Fledglings leave their burrow nest 27 to 29 days after hatching and stay with their parents, who feed them, for about 3 weeks1.

This is the video I shot of the youngster being fed. I couldn’t tell if it was the male or female feeding the fledgling, or what it was being fed (probably a fish), but it was a pretty noisy affair.

Several  minutes after being fed, the adult female flew back up and perched with the fledgling where they both preened and bobbed and displayed other Belted Kingfisher behavior 😉

The adult male flew by and even landed somewhere in the tree I think but never perched with mom and the youngster while I was there. Of course they did call back and forth.

Here’s another photo of the female perched near her offspring.

For more great bird photos from around the world, check out World Bird Wednesday!

Reference:1Birds of North America Online

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Boom & Gary June 26, 2012 at 9:59 am

Great captures on the Kingfishers. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


Mia McPherson June 26, 2012 at 10:15 am

Wow, I am envious of your experience with these Kingfishers Larry. They are a nemesis bird for me, I’ve only been able to sneak up on one to get close enough to get high quality images and the rotten part was that I was taking the images straight up and mostly got butt shots!

I would have been walking on clouds to have seen & photographed this!


TexWisGirl June 26, 2012 at 10:24 am

i love these plucky little birds. how great you got to see the young one.


Mick June 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Great photos and fantastic to see the interaction between the birds.


springman June 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Great video Larry, you some how found the perfect angle!


I'd Rather B Birdin June 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Super images….I love all these photo shares.


Carole M. June 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm

such a handsome bird; great photos!


Eileen June 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Cool video and awesome photos of the Kingfisher and the youngins. Awesome sighting and great captures, Larry!


Andrew June 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

A wonderful bird to see.. great captures.


Robert Mortensen June 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Awesome Larry! Very cool images and video!


Stewart M - Australia June 27, 2012 at 4:15 am

Splendid birds – Kingfishers of any sort are always worth a look.


Stewart M


Hilke Breder June 27, 2012 at 6:29 am

You have sharp eyes, Larry, and a quick trigger finger catching that flying bullet in your first shot! Very enjoyable post.


Adam Jones June 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Fantastic shots of a really cracking Kingfisher. Great stuff.


Mary Howell Cromer June 30, 2012 at 4:30 am

Splendid Larry, and those belted Kingfishers are such great looking birds. We actually have a species of them 3 miles from home and yet, the lake where they are is so vast with so much interferences, I hardly ever get close. Be sure to view my last entry for the Red-Shouldered Hawks for a bit, you will enjoy, I know~


dreamfalcon July 1, 2012 at 8:14 am

Very nice photos! With the video it’s clear how far away they were!


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