Kingfisher family (Alcedinidae)
Body stocky; large head; ragged crest of feathers on head; large bill; bluish-gray head, back, and wings; white belly and collar. Gray band around chest. Female (left in image) – blue-gray band and rufous band across belly. Male (right in image) – single blue-gray band across belly.
Near water, rivers, lakes.
Nests in a burrow in a stream bank. Both male and female excavate tunnel, 1 to 2 m deep in bank. Eggs are white. Clutch size – 5 to 8 eggs. Fledglings leave nest about 4 weeks after hatching.
A distinct rattle, varying in pitch, given in flight.
“Kingfisher” literally means “chief of the fishers”. Ceryle, Greek, kerylos, for “seabird”; alcyon, Greek, alkyon, for “the kingfisher” after Alcyon who so grieved after her husband drowned that the gods changed them both into kingfishers
In the Nature Park:
Year-round resident. Kingfishers are regularly seen or heard along Big Walnut Creek and at the Quarry Pond where they feed on fish, caught by diving headfirst into the water.