Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
The belted kingfisher is one of the few bird species where females have more attractive plumage than males. Breeding pairs will aggressively defend their territory against other kingfishers and nest in tunnels constructed in exposed vertical soil. Newly hatched kingfishers have strong stomach acids able to digest fish bones and scales. However, by the time the young fledge, their stomach chemistry changes and they will instead regurgitate pellets filled with indigestible bones and scales.
These energetic birds breed and nest as far north as northern Alaska and Canada, and most will migrate south to overwinter in Mexico and Central America. Some birds will may remain in northern breeding regions provided they have access to open water. The belted kingfisher is known to wander and occasionally end up in Hawaii, the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland and a few other exoctic locations.
This belted kingfisher was admitted to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) Veterinary Medical Centre unable to perch properly. He was diagnosed with spinal trauma resulting in the paralysis of his hind limbs. The Wild and Exotic Animal Medicine Society (WEAMS) is a non-profit organization operated by student volunteers at the WCVM and they provide care for a wide variety of patients, just like this kingfisher.
For more information about WEAMS and their amazing work, here’s a more comprehensive article: words.usask.ca/wcvm/2013/07/wcvm-students-go-wild-for-wil...