The Ringed Kingfisher
) is a large, conspicuous and noisy kingfisher
, commonly found along the lower Rio Grande River
valley in southeasternmost Texas
in the United States
through Central America
to Tierra del Fuego
in South America
The breeding habitat is areas near large bodies of water, usually in heavily wooded areas where it finds a perch to hunt from. It is mostly a sedentary species, remaining in territories all year long.
It is 40–41 cm long, with deep blue or bluish-gray plumage
with white markings, a shaggy crest and a broad white collar around the neck. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the entire rufous
belly, which also covers the entire breast of the male. Females are more colorful than the male (i.e., reverse sexual dimorphism) and have a bluish-gray breast and a narrow white stripe separating the breast from the belly.
These birds nest in a horizontal tunnel made in a river bank or sand bank. The female lays 3 to 6 eggs. Both parents excavate the tunnel, incubate
the eggs and feed the young.
It is often seen perched prominently on trees, posts, or other suitable "watchpoints" close to water before plunging in head first after its fish
prey. They also eat small mammals, insects, small reptiles and berries.
Their voice is a loud, penetrating rattle given on the wing and when perched.
kingfishers were formerly placed in Ceryle
with the Pied Kingfisher
, but the latter is genetically closer to the American......