Sunday, July 15, 2007

King of the Fishers!

We spent time in Little Rock again this weekend with Kevin & Summer. On Friday, Kevin and I were going back into town after a thunderstorm. We were talking & driving when we saw a Belted Kingfisher on a powerline. We observed it swooping off the powerline and down to the ground several times.

There are approximatley 87 species of Kingfishers in the world but only 3 are present in North America. They are the Belted Kingfisher, the Ringed Kingfisher, and Green Kingfisher. The Belted Kingfisher is common across North America, while the other two are common on in extreme southern Texas.

The males and females have a blue-gray breast band and white on the belly. The females have an additional rusty-red band across the belly. The Belted Kingfisher is a very distinctive bird and is common around fresh water. They can be seen hovering over water or perching from trees or lines to spot their prey.

They swoop down, head first into the water, to catch their meal. The adults teach the juveniles to hunt by dropping dead fish into the water for them to retreive. Their training lasts for about ten days before they are ready to strike out on their own, most likely with a little help from their parents.

Another interesting thing about the Kingfisher is they excavate a burrow in the side of a steep river or water bank about 7 feet long. They deposit 5-8 eggs which take 3-4 weeks before hatching.

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