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Kingfisher, Belted.jpg

The belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) is one of the most widespread land birds in North America, occupying a diverse range of aquatic habitats. One of few bird species in which the female is more brightly coloured than the male, in addition to the ashy-blue upperparts, white collar and broad, bluish-grey breast band, the female belted kingfisher has a chestnut band across the lower breast and streaks of chestnut on the sides. However, perhaps the most distinctive feature of this bird is its conspicuous, double-pointed crest set upon the large, blue head. The juvenile differs from the adult in its darker crest, blue breast band mixed with chestnut and wing feathers flecked with white. Like other members of the kingfisher family, this medium-sized species is short-necked, stout-bodied and has small, weak feet. The bill is straight, long and strong and flattened from the sides - an adaptation to its fish-eating lifestyle. An extremely vocal species, the belted kingfisher makes a number of sounds, including a harsh rattle, which is used in territorial disputes and a warbling call emitted by the female during courtship.

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