Belted Kingfisher Nesting

Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 8, 2017

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One of the many birds migrating back to Wolf Ridge this spring is the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). These birds that let out a loud, rattling call are primarily fish eaters, which means that their homes can be found near a body of water.

A male Belted Kingfisher will obtain a territory that may include up to 1,000 feet of stream-bed and surrounding vegetation. When preparing a nest for the eggs to come, the male will excavate a tunnel in a steep sand bank, bluff, or ravine. The nesting tunnel is chipped away at with the Belted Kingfisher’s beak and then the loosened debris is cleared with its feet. While it is small in diameter, it can be anywhere from three to seven feet long! After the nest is built, the pair will lay five to eight eggs, for which the male will incubate and provide parental care.

A nest of a breeding pair of Belted Kingfishers can be found here at Wolf Ridge in our very own gravel pit!

By: Brooke Piepenburg, Erika LeMay, and Jarrod Klopp