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Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle torquata


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Ringed Kingfisher, male on dead branch
credit: Dario Sanches/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Alcedinidae, Kingfishers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has blue back and upper wings, the latter marked with small white spots and dark streaks. Head is blue with a shaggy crest (and small white spot in front of eye); this is separated from back and reddish underparts by white collar. Tail is adorned with white spots above and below. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but note the broad blue breast band, separated from reddish underparts by a white chest band. JUVENILE Similar to respective adult, but female's chest band has some reddish feathering while male has hint of blue chest band.

Dimensions Length: 13" (33 cm)

Habitat Widespread in South and Central America but also resident in southern Texas, mainly on Rio Grande.

Observation Tips Often perches prominently.

Range Texas

Voice Utters a loud rattling call, lower pitched than that of Belted.

Discussion The largest kingfisher in North America. Recalls Belted, but larger size and reddish underparts enable easy recognition. Bill is massive, and daggerlike, with a yellow base and dark tip. Perches on dead branches overhanging water, and dives for fish. Nests in riverbank burrows. Sexes are dissimilar.