Ringed Kingfisher

Megaceryle torquata

Not as common as the familiar Belted Kingfisher, the Ringed Kingfisher is the largest member of the kingfisher family in North America. We only find them north of the Mexican border in south Texas. I met them several times during my time in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, but only at the Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville was I able to get a photo.

Unlike the Belted Kingfisher, who poses briefly as they look for foraging opportunities, the Ringed Kingfisher may remain perched for hours at a time, watching for his opportunity to capture a fishy meal.

The range for this species includes nearly all of South America, Central America, much of Mexico, and southmost Texas. Withing this range, today’s science recognises only three subspecies. M. t. torquatus is resident from south Texas and south through Mexico, Central America and South America to northern Argentina. M. t. stictipennis lives in the Caribbean on the Lesser Antilles Islands. M. t. stellata lives at the southern end of South America.

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