Ringed Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquata)

Ringed Kingfisher

[order] Coraciiformes | [family] Alcedinidae | [latin] Megaceryle torquata | [UK] Ringed Kingfisher | [FR] Martin-pecheur a ventre roux | [DE] Rotbrustfischer | [ES] Martin Gigante Neotropical | [IT] Martin pescatore dal collare | [NL] Amerikaanse Reuzenijsvogel


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Megaceryle torquata NA, LA sw USA to Tierra del Fuego
Megaceryle torquata stellata Chile and Argentina
Megaceryle torquata stictipennis Lesser Antilles
Megaceryle torquata torquata s Texas (USA) to n Argentina, Margarita I. and Trinidad

Physical charateristics

It is 40-41 cm long, with deep blue or bluish-grey plumage with white markings, a shaggy crest and a broad white collar around the neck. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the entire rufous belly, which also covers the entire breast of the male. Females are more colorful than the male, having a bluish-grey breast, and a narrow white stripe separating the breast from the belly.

Listen to the sound of Ringed Kingfisher

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/R/Ringed Kingfisher.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 40 cm size max.: 41 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 33 days fledging max.: 38 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Commonly found along the lower Rio Grande River valley in southeasternmost Texas in the United States through Central America to Tierra del Fuego in South America. Reported to expand in Northern direction (Texas).


Lakes, rivers, streams, lagoons, and coastal regions. Wide slow-flowing rivers, lowland lakes, marshes, estuaries, brackish coastal lagoons, mangroves, and sometimes open beaches; also sometimes ricefields, reservoirs, canals, water gardens in cities, and Chilean fiords. In Colombia and Bolivia, frequents primarily open habitat along the edges of lakes and streams.


Nests in a horizontal burrow dug in a steep earth or sand bank usually along a river but occasionally in erosion gullies and road cuts well away from water. Tunnel is dug by both sexes and is 2-3 meter deep, 10 cm high with a small chamber at the end. Clutch size is 3-6 eggs, incubated for 212-25 days by both male and female in 24 hour shifts, changing mainly in the morning. Young fledge after 33-38 days.

Feeding habits

Feeds mainly on fish although, when the waters are murky, they sometimes hunt insects, crabs and reptiles. Also reported catching Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds (Eupetomena macroura) on a couple of occasions.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 17,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 5,000,000-50,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2003). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Ringed Kingfisher status Least Concern


Mainly sedentary but may fly to distant waterbodies during breeding season. Some post breeding Nothern dispersal recorded.

Distribution map

Ringed Kingfisher range map


Title Nesting of the Ringed Kingfisher in the United States
Author(s): Albert D. McGrew
Abstract: According to the A.O.U. Check-list (fifth Ed., Bal..[more]..
Source: Auk, Vol. 88:665-666

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