A distinctive medium-sized kingfisher with black-and-white plumage and a speckled body. It has a black crown and crest, white underparts, and black upperparts with white edgings giving a speckled appearance. It feeds exclusively by hovering over water and plunging down to catch its prey, making it easy to spot and identify. Males have two prominent breast bands while females have only one, which is less prominent. Juveniles look like females, but have brown fringes to its feathers. Common call is a “klrr-klrrr-klrrr,” uttered mostly in flight. Inhabits all kinds of water bodies with patches of open water without floating vegetation, but avoids small streams and other smaller water bodies in the mountains.