BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

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CUCKOOS, KINGFISHERS, ETC.: ORDER COCCYGES

KINGFISHERS: FAMILY ALCEDINIDÆ

BELTED KINGFISHER. Ceryle [Megaceryle] alcyon
13.02 in.

Ad. ♂.— Upper parts grayish-blue; feathers of the wing tipped with white; spot before the eye white; tail-feathers narrowly barred with white; broad collar white; band across the breast bluish-gray; lower breast and belly white; bill long feathers of the back of the head long, often raised as a crest. Ad. ♀.— Similar to ♂ band across the belly and sides chestnut.

Nest, in a deep hole in a bank of sand. Eggs, white.

The Kingfisher is a summer resident of all parts of New England and New York, appearing in April, as soon as the ice melts from the streams and ponds, and staying till October. Along Long Island Sound and in the lower Hudson Valley, where there is open water all winter, a Kingfisher is occasionally seen even at that season. Any point of lookout over the water may become the Kingfisher's perch, spar-buoys and spindles in little coves and harbors, limbs of trees extending over quiet mill-ponds or pools in mountain streams. Here it sits and watches the water below, or when startled passes along the shore or up the brook, with a loud cry, like a watchman's rattle. It often hovers over one spot, with body nearly perpendicular, and wings beating rapidly, watching some fish below, ready to plunge and seize it in its long bill.

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

The Kingfisher may often be seen flying high overhead from one fishing-ground to another, or to its burrow. It may then be identified by its curious flight; after two or three wing-strokes at ordinary intervals it quickens the time, taking two or three strokes much more rapidly.


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