As the name suggests, kingfishers are excellent fishing birds. In fact, fish make up about 80% of their diet, although they also eat crawfish, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders and insects. They often spend many hours perched on branches above streams, watching for fish in the water below. When they spot prey, they will dive into the water after it—sometimes spearing the fish with their long, sharp beak, but most often simply seizing it and returning to their nests.
Ceryle alcyon:Belted Kingfisher
Kingfishers in Montana (specifically, belted kingfishers) are about thirteen inches long from beak to tail. They are usually deep blue or a bluish-gray color, with white undersides and a broad white ring around the neck. The females have a band of chestnut brown across the breast and along the sides.
Kingfishers dig their nests—usually in the steep walls of claybanks or sandbanks. They tunnel anywhere from four feet to 15 feet before digging a larger hollow for their young. Here, they build nests and lay anywhere from five to eight eggs. Kingfishers are "equal time" parents; both male and female take turns sitting on the eggs, and the young hatch in about sixteen days.