A Female Belted Kingfisher and Her Rattling Call

/, Birds, Salt Lake County, Utah/A Female Belted Kingfisher and Her Rattling Call

Perched female Belted KingfisherPerched female Belted Kingfisher – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday I had my first opportunity to photograph a nearby female Belted Kingfisher in Salt Lake County, Utah and I had fun getting to know her. Other obligations and a day of feeling sick kept me away from her but yesterday the light was good, the sky was clear and the female Belted Kingfisher was busy moving around the small pond she has made her territory.

The chestnut colored belt on her belly makes her one of the few birds in North America where the female of the species is more colorful than the male, something uncommon in the world of birds. I believe the only other species I have photographed where the female is more colorful are phalaropes,  small shorebirds that I see often here in Utah and in Montana.

A female Belted KingfisherA female Belted Kingfisher – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I usually hear Belted Kingfishers before I see them because of their rattling calls. Belted Kingfishers are noisy birds and call while they are in flight, perched or alarmed. This kingfisher called quite often while I observed and photographed her yesterday.

This female Belted Kingfisher has been fishing at a small pond which is quite close to the Jordan River so she has plenty of fish available in her territory. There are areas along the Jordan River that could provide excellent nesting sites so I’m hoping she sticks around so I will be able to spend more time getting to know and photograph her as spring arrives in the Salt Lake Valley.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover February 24, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Wonderful images. Didn’t know we had Kingfishers here. Remind me of the adorable laughing kookaburras of Australia I saw at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence RI last November.

  2. Elephant's Child February 24, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    She is a total charmer.

  3. Patty Chadwick February 24, 2016 at 9:21 am

    This is one perky-looking little lady! A great shot…love her “belts” ad her rocker hair do. I hope you get many more shots as good as this one….

  4. Molly February 24, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I don’t know if they’re traditionally thought of as more colorful than the male, but I sure experience the female Mergansers that way, too. I’m reminded of the lady Mergansers and the Steller’s Jays by the punk rock hairstyle of this female Kingfisher. “Alcyon Days” indeed. 🙂

  5. Bob McPherson February 24, 2016 at 5:50 am

    Beautiful photos Mia. Enjoy your commentary on the Kingfisher. Such interesting birds.

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