A huge pale-headed kingfisher with a massive bill. Buff-colored head, underside, and rump contrast with blackish-brown upperparts. Bill usually black, but on Banggai, it is largely orange. Juveniles show dark fringing to breast and nape feathers. Tied to coastal watercourses, particularly mangroves, but also found in scrub, estuaries, and shrubby cliffsides, typically singly or in pairs, often perching well above the water. Unique within limited range. Gives strident “kek-kek-kek” calls and mournful “kew-kew-kew” whistles.