The ringed kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata) is the largest of all kingfishers found in the Americas. This once rare bird species in North America can now be seen in Central Texas and other southern states of the United States all the way down to the southernmost part of South America. It is unique with its blue, mostly rufous underpart and white ring around its collar. Its chin, under-wing and under-tail are all white. Their heads are blue-gray with a ragged crest. They have a long pointy and heavy bill. The females are similar to the males but have a blue breast band across their chests.
Ringed kingfishers nest mostly along rivers, streams and dirt road banks. They excavate their nests about 8 feet vertically deep into the dirt bank. Both parents contribute to this task. The females can lay between 3 to 6 eggs and the incubation period lasts 19 to 21 days. The young are fed by both parents until they leave the nest after about 22 to 26 days. The parents may continue to feed the young for about 4 days after they leave the nest. Their diet mostly includes small fish, however, they also feed on frogs, small snakes, and other aquatic creatures.
Ringed kingfishers are mostly found around rivers, streams and ponds. They can be found anywhere near a body of water including mangrove swamps and along the coast. They have a wide range and are common in the American tropics. According to the IUCN Red list, the ringed kingfisher population is increasing and their range is increasing as well. The ringed kingfisher species is listed on the IUCN Red list as a species of “Least Concern” because their range size, population size and population trends are not approaching any threshold for vulnerability.
National Audubon Society. (2017). Guide to North American Birds. Retrieved from: http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/ringed-kingfisher
IUCN. (2017). The IUCN list of threatened species. Retrieved from: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22683634/0
Kontonicolas, N. (2017). Ringed Kingfisher – Megaceryle torquata. Retrieved from: http://www.1000birds.com/reports_CR_Ringed-Kingfisher.htm