Kings of the Boardwalk

“Royalty” has been gracing us with its presence at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo of late. Here’s what to look for to spot kingfishers and kinglets:

Belted Kingfisher: In many bird species, the males are more colorful than the females. Some species, such as red-winged blackbirds or wood ducks, take the difference to extremes. However, belted kingfishers buck the trend; females are more colorful than males!

The female above shows off her rufous-colored belt, which is absent in males. True to their name, kingfishers catch fish, making the pond at Nature Boardwalk an ideal habitat.

Kinglets: These tiny birds are amazingly compact bundles of energy. Golden-crowned kinglets (pictured) have been spotted at the boardwalk lately. In this species, males and females wear a “crown” (a bright yellow streak on top of their heads). Male crowns have a reddish or orange center, but this is often difficult to see.

The other kinglet species found in our area, the ruby-crowned kinglet, can be distinguished by its white eye ring. In contrast with golden-crowned kinglets, crowning is this species is limited to a single sex. Only male ruby-crowned kinglets wear the mark, which is a streak of bright red.

Vicky Hunt

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