Ringed Kingfisher

Although there are some martins that can be as small as hummingbirds, the truth is that there are others that are large in size, such as the Ringed Kingfisher. You’d be surprised how huge it can be.

A native species of Texas

It is also known as the collared kingfisher, and its scientific name is megaceryle torquata, a species of coraciliform bird of the Cerylidae family. It is distributed from South Texas to Tierra del Fuego.

megaceryle torquata

They usually live near the banks of streams, rivers, lagoons or marshes. Although it is commonly found in areas of great vegetation, it has also been seen in suburban and urban areas.

Is it easy to recognize them?

You could say that it is easy to recognize. It has a size of 36 to 41 cm, being one of the largest specimens of the species, although its appearance is typical of kingfishers. It presents a slight sexual dimorphism.

Its beak is long, black in colour and robust in appearance, with a well-defined top. The head and back are light blue in colour, with a crest with a black line. Both sexes have a white collar around their necks (known in some areas as a “collared kingfisher”).

The belly has a rufous brownish tone, with white subflow in the male, while in the female it is rufa. The wings, in the internal zone are white in the male and rufas in the female. The color of the legs in both sexes are brown. Another sign of sexual dimorphism is that the female has a slate-blue chest, which separates the white of the throat with the reddish hue of her belly.

Three subspecies have been recognized:

  • Megaceryle torquata stellata: Subspecies found in southern Chile, Argentina and Tierra del Fuego. He usually spends his winters in central Argentina.
  • Megaceryle torquata stictipennis: Typical of the Lesser Antilles.
  • Megaceryle torquata torquata: The nominal subspecies, extending from south Texas to central Argentina. It is also found on the islands of Trinidad and Margarita.

Can we highlight anything about this species?

In a way, its character depends a lot on the specimen. Some people have been seen to live alone, while others like to live in pairs. Like the rest of his family, he dives from a tree branch at full speed to capture his prey. You can eat this one in mid-flight. Although, if it’s too big, it’s expected to reach the branch.

When the water is too cloudy to catch fish, it feeds on aquatic insects, amphibians, reptiles and even smaller mammals. When the prey is large and defends itself, it is usually struck against a strong surface, such as the branch on which it rests or a stone, until it is killed.

collared kingfisher

The nest is usually built in dirt or sand ravines, reaching a depth of 2 metres and a diameter of 15 cm. At the end of the tunnel there is a chamber in which the female lays three to five white eggs.

This species shares the incubation process of the eggs for almost the entire month. While one is incubating the eggs, the other goes to forage or watches the entrance to prevent predators from entering.

After the chicks hatch, they leave the nest after just over a month and become more independent. They learn to fish and how to defend themselves from predators.

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