The belted kingfisher is a medium sized bird that is found through out most of North America. Their breeding range includes Alaska and Canada, except for the extreme north, and the United States except for the southwest. Birds that breed in the northern portion of their territory will migrate south into the southern US, Mexico, Central America and the northern coasts of South America. Her in southern Minnesota they will stick around as long as they are near a water source that does not freeze up. I photographed this female, females are distinguished by the rufous band on the upper belly, in January. She was around Black Dog Lake which has a power plant which keeps the lake from freezing during the winter.
Belted kingfishers nest in burrows dug into soft dirt banks. Usually the nest is located near water where the kingfisher will hunt. The burrow often has a long upward slopping tunnel, up to 8', as an entrance. As their name would suggest their primary food source is fish. Kingfisher chicks are able to digest all parts of the fish including scales and bones but as they mature they begin to cough up , cast, pellets. The pellets are similar to those of owls and usually include scales and bones.