American Pygmy Kingfisher
Being the smallest kingfisher in Belize the American Pygmy Kingfisher is often overlooked. It's minute size and greens feathers make them difficult to detect, I was lucky to find this beautiful female.
The American pygmy kingfisher is 13 cm long and weighs 18g. It has the typical kingfisher shape, with a short tail and long bill. It is oily green above, with a yellow-orange collar around the neck, rufous underparts and a white belly. The female has a narrow green breast band. Young birds resemble the adults, but have paler rufous underparts, no breast band, and speckled wings and flanks. It gives a weak tik or stony cht cht call.
This tiny kingfisher occurs in dense forests and mangrove swamps along small streams or rivers with heavily vegetated banks. The unlined nest is in a horizontal tunnel up to 40 cm long made in a river bank, earth heap, or occasionally an arboreal termite nest. The female lays three, sometimes four, white eggs.
American pygmy kingfishers perch quietly on a low branch close to water before plunging in head first after small fish or tadpoles. They will also hawk for insects. They not shy, but easily overlooked as they sit silently amongst riverside branches.
Photograph by Francis Canto Jr
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