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Species Spotlight - Belted Kingfisher

I spotted my first Belted Kingfisher of the year the other day and it got me really excited to photograph these beautiful birds this year. As anyone who has tried to photograph a Kingfisher knows, they are notoriously difficult to photograph as they are extremely camera shy. Getting near one can be particularly challenging, but not impossible, here are some tips for photographing the often frustrating Kingfisher.




I have found that these birds are fairly predictable in that they have favorite perches they visit regularly. Kingfishers can be found fishing on lakes, rivers and streams that hosts their preferred food. Their diet consists mainly of small fish like Sticklebacks, as well as salmon and trout fry, and other small fish that they dive bomb from a perch overlooking the water. Observing their behavior over time, and noting where their preferred fishing spots are can increase the chances of getting a photo of these striking critters. My most successful photos where when the birds didn't know that I was there, either because I was wearing camouflage or hiding myself in some way. Setting up an actual hide works nicely, or just hiding within some thick branches where your form is concealed can work really well. If you have something you can hide in, or hide behind, you may just score a great photo. The other part of it is patience. Waiting for the bird to actually show up to one of it's perches can take hours. So be prepared to hang out and wait for your shot. But when you get it, it's worth it. Be sure to find a spot that gives you the best background, foreground, light and angle.


Below are some of my favorite Belted Kingfisher photos over the years. They are such a fun and challenging bird to photograph and I will never get bored with them. I hope you enjoy my photos!



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