Friday, October 15, 2021

Belted Kingfisher

After the Snow Goose counted on our 9 October 2021 eBird Big Day, a female Belted Kingfisher flew by and landed on a nearby pier piling. It so happens that fish over 10 centimeters are hard for kingfishers to swallow. After catching a fish, kingfishers often flies to a perch. There the bird pounds its prey by sidewise head movements. This behavior stuns the fish allowing the kingfisher to swallow the fish headfirst. Pounding may also break stickleback and bullhead spines (Kelly and Hamas 2020).

The white spots in these photos, by the way, are plumage patterns in front of the birds’ eyes. The birds apparently use these as sights that the kingfishers use to line up their prey with the tip of their bill. Birds whose white spots were painted black by researchers are unable to successfully hit their prey.

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing story in that there are near 120 Kingfisher
    species listed on ebird around the Globe. My first look at your photos' caused me to go thru the ebird list - which I had never done. The brown coloring had not been apparent to me before.
    Thank you again for my continued edification.

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