These small, beautiful birds are commonly spotted around the Oregon Coast during the winter months. About the size of a pigeon, the Belted Kingfisher can be easily identified by the brush-like crest on the top of its head. Both males and females of the species are colored a bluish-gray with a white chest. Females will usually have a chestnut-colored band that runs across the belly as well.
Kingfishers hunt a variety of aquatic animals, including crabs, crayfish and salamanders. As a result, they are usually found near large bodies of salt water or along other waterways like rivers and streams. They will often hover over the water’s surface searching for prey. Once spotted, the kingfisher will plunge vertically into the water and snap up its food with its dagger-like bill.
The Belted Kingfisher can be found from Alaska east to southern Canada and throughout most of the western part of the United States. They like to winter along the Pacific Coast.