The Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) has always been a bird of special interest to ornithologists and naturalists. The name, Kingfisher is indicative of his habits. Although if fish are not available he lives on frogs, lizards, insects and crustacea. In making a catch, he is an agile and accurate bird. He is often seen perching on a dead limb over a stream or lake, from which he will suddenly make a swift plunge into the water, and circle back to the same perch, his fish glistening in the sun as he shakes it, and with head upturned he employs gravity to help him swallow it. After cleaning his beak on the limb he is likely to take off down stream with a satisfied rattle to renew his hunting pursuits in other parts.
Because of his feeding habits, the Kingfishers' range is limited by the extent of favorable fishing grounds. Baileys' (15 Birds of Western United States) says, "They are associated with quieter phases of nature, with still woodland pools and smooth lakes where they give a vivifying touch of active wild life. In a remote narrow canyon, how they thrill you as they dash by overhead--a flash of blue ad white."
The bird is nearly as large as a pigeon. In color, he is bluish-grey over the crest and upper parts, with a blue-grey belt across the breast. Otherwise the underparts are white with dark wing quills.
Recently, after hearing the characteristic rattle, the Park Naturalist saw one of these interesting birds flying over Lake Louise, "elevation 4,500 feet".
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