Ringed Kingfisher, Megaceryle torquatus

Ringed Kingfisher

The Ringed Kingfisher, a very cool bird similar to the familiar Belted Kingfisher, is common in Mexico, but the Rio Grande Valley is the northernmost edge of its normal range. It is one of a number of similar "rarities" that make the Valley attractive to people who keep lists of birds seen or photographed within "North America" as defined by our birding conventions. It also explains why I'm posting this inartistic picture, with the bird angled away and substantially obscured by twigs; it gives me one more bird for the list that this site is devoted to displaying.

My encounter with this bird raised another "listing" issue -- did I photograph it in "North America?" This photo, with the bird perched on the Texas side of the Rio Grande, establishes that I did. But if I'd been left with the other three pictures I took of this bird, showing it perched on snags out in the river, and flying down the middle of the river, its status as a North American sighting would have been debatable. And as those other pictures are even less artistic than this one, I would have been left without Ringed Kingfisher as one of the birds on this site. For the sequence of pictures and the surrounding story, look  here.