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The Belted Kingfisher is the one species of kingfisher found throughout most of North America north of Mexico. You'll have to go to Texas to see two other kingfishers. The quiet call of the Green Kingfisher - like this one - can be heard at wooded streams and ponds. A Ringed Kingfisher perches up high and makes spectacular dives into the water, coming up with fish larger than those the Belted can handle. Learn more about other Texas birds at WorldBirdingCenter.org.
Three Kingfishers, Not One
Written by Dennis Paulson
This is BirdNote!
When you next walk in a wetland, listen for the rat-ta-tat sound of the Belted Kingfisher. You could soon witness a dashing dive.
[Call of Belted Kingfisher]
The Belted is the one species of kingfisher found throughout most of North America north of Mexico. To see the other two, we’ll have to travel to southern Texas.
So let’s go! These brightly patterned, bushy-headed birds with big bills are a treat to see!
[Call of Green Kingfisher]
Like two pebbles clicking together, the Green Kingfisher’s quiet call can be heard at wooded streams and ponds. [Repeat clicking sound] The bird perches on a branch not far above the water and then plunges after fish and insect larvae that swim near the surface. We’re watching for a small kingfisher with a shiny dark-green back.
And these loud calls? [Call of Ringed Kingfisher]
A Ringed Kingfisher, a larger version of the Belted, is nearby. Both male and female have rich reddish underparts. The female has a grey breast. The Ringed Kingfisher perches up high and makes spectacular dives into the water for fish larger than those the Belted can handle.
So besides the Belted, two tropical species, the Green and the Ringed, are able to thrive in this subtropical corner of the United States.
[Calls of Green and Ringed Kingfisher]
Learn more about kingfishers at birdnote.org.
Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Belted Kingfisher recorded by S.R. Pantle. Green Kingfisher and Ringed Kingfisher recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org February 2014 / 2021 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# 2008-02-12-kingfisher-01-KPLU kingfisher-01b