Stocky and large-headed with a shaggy crest. Bill is long, straight, thick, and pointed. Powder blue above with white underparts and blue breast band. Females have additional rusty band across belly. Almost always solitary, perched along edges of streams, lakes, and estuaries. Flies along rivers and shorelines giving loud rattling calls. Hunts for fish by plunging headfirst into the water, either directly from a perch or hovering.