Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
Alcedinidae or Kingfisher Family

Medium-sized bird with a large, dark bill, and a shaggy headdress.The head and back are slate blue to blue gray, while the stomach and neck are white. The blue gray color forms a band or belt in front between the white of the neck and of the stomach. Females and juveniles have an additional russett belt across the stomach. They hang out around water where they can catch and eat fish, crustaceans, insect and salamanders. They build nests at the ends of long tunnels in riverbanks or sandbanks around lakes and raise their young underground.

In the breeding season they are generally only found where there are banks suitable for tunneling for their nests. In the winter and during the migratory season they may be found anywhere there is water with food. They are native to North America, breeding in most of the US and Canada, and migrating into Central America and to the Carribean in the winter. Over much of the US it is a year-round resident. It can be occasionally spotted in Wildwood, near Connelly's Run, presumabley hunting crayfish, especially in the winter (the picture was taken on December 1st).

The thick bill, moderately large size, and color scheme make this bird easy to identify.

     

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