An Outstretched Belted Kingfisher

Alan Murphy displays the regal hunter.

The Belted Kingfisher is a squat bird found along the northern territories of Canada, mainland United States, Greenland, and as far south as Panama. But don’t let its diminutive stature deceive: The kingfisher is an ace hunter, perching on branches overlooking streams and ponds then dive-bombing the water when it spots fish or crawdads, and all without making so much as a splash. The bird’s stealth and diving prowess makes it strong on defense, too. When chased by falcons, for example, it repeatedly dives underwater to exhaust the predator.

This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2011 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here

For more on the Belted Kingfisher:

Birds of America: Belted Kingfisher

Guide to North American Birds: Belted Kingfisher

Slideshow: Belted Kingfisher