Out on a limb (literally!) is this gorgeous female Belted Kingfisher. Although their rattling battle cry has become a familiar sound to my ears, it's not easy to get a photo of the Belted Kingfisher in repose. By the time I've heard this well-dressed fisher, it's usually in motion, diving from its perch on a powerline or tree limb in a local wildlife habitat into the waters below to snag some unwitting piece of sushi. This lady was an exception, sitting quietly on a branch in the evening sun for several minutes before flying off to her next meal.

I didn’t know Belted Kingfishers had white spots in front of their eyes. They aren't just beauty marks; apparently, those white spots help them track prey, like crosshairs. 😉 © W.H. Sim, All Rights Reserved.

Her crest is down in the above photo. When she had it up in the shot below, it looked like the human equivalent of a raised eyebrow (with no eyebrows, birds use body language and headgear, if any, to telegraph their emotions and state of mind). I tend to encounter the female Belted Kingfishers more than the blue and white coloured males (and I do consider the females to be the prettier of the genders, with their blue (top) and reddish brown (bottom) necklaces). My subject, however, appeared to have two reddish brown necklaces with only flecks of slate blue colour on the top one.

The flamboyant and expressive rockstar “hair”, oversized head, and dagger-like bill (which they put to good use) are Belted Kingfisher trademarks. © W.H. Sim, All Rights Reserved.

Although the ones I've encountered in Metro Vancouver are generally not skittish (surprisingly!), Belted Kingfishers are not birds who pose for photographers (this one was an exception), nor are they curious about humans in such a way that they would approach us to take a look. Bird blinds, camouflage apparel, and a great deal of patience are required to stake out their fishing locales, which may also include golf course trees with water hazards. Photographed on July 31 at Coquitlam's Colony Farm Regional Park. Learn more about Belted Kingfishers by visiting their Cornell Lab of Ornithology allaboutbirds.org profile. ✍️

Published by Hui Sim