I once called Belted Kingfishers my “nemesis” bird – for the trouble I was having getting decent pictures of the birds. But, they’ve turned out to be one of my favorite birds to photograph.
I’ve seen plenty around the Orlando Wetlands or at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Preserve. You can spot them either just before or just after they have made a catch of a little fish. They are very shy birds, however, and once they notice you are looking at them (or trying to photograph them), away they fly.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to get some nice photos of them since starting in January 2023. The females are easy to tell from the males since they have a rust-colored band around their bellies that the males lack.
And, Florida is the place to be for Belted Kingfishers. According to AllAboutBirds.org, “Pleistocene fossils of Belted Kingfishers (to 600,000 years old) have been unearthed in Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas. The oldest known fossil in the kingfisher genus is 2 million years old, found in Alachua County, Florida.”
Here are some of my favorite photos of my former nemesis bird.