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Belted Kingfisher

The Red Earth Cree are reported to have eaten Belted Kingfishers [1]. Kingfishers were said to predict death if it flew behind a boat rather than in the front [2].

The skin of Belted Kingfishers was used by some Northwest Coast cultures. The skin attached to the wings or tail was often used as fishing bait [3]. The Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth) of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery would carry medicine bundles while fishing; a bundle of the dried right halves of four young kingfishers would make a successful fishing trip [4].


1.         Meyer D: Appendix I: Plants, Animals and Climate; Appendix IV: Subsistence-Settlement Patterns. In: The Red Earth Crees, 1860-1960. Volume 1st edition, edn.: National Musem of Man Mercury Series; 1985: 175-185-200-223.

2.         McClellan C: My Old People Say: An Ethnographic Survey of Southern Yukon Territory-Part 1. Ottawa: National Musems of Canada; 1975.

3.         Eells M: The Indians of Puget Sound: The Notebooks of Myron Eells. Seattle: University of Washington Press; 1985.

4.         Arima EY: The West Coast People: The Nootka of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery, vol. Special Publication No. 6. Victoria, B.C.: British Columbia Provincial Musem; 1983.

The Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) is widespread and occurs throughout North America, but migrates south from Canada for the winter. They are medium-sized birds, weighing between 140 and 170 g, with a stocky, mostly blue-gray body, a large crested head, and a long, thick, black bill. They are most often found around clear, open, running water, where they perch and dive head first into the water to capture fish.


Kelly JF, Bridge ES, Hamas MJ: Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). In: The Birds of North America Online. Edited by Poole A. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; 2009.


Distribution maps provided below, unless otherwise stated, were obtained from Birds of North America Online, maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and all pictures provided below were obtained from Encyclopedia of Life
Belted Kingfisher
Supplier: Wikimedia Commons
Photographer: mikebaird