A mid-sized kingfisher with a variable plumage pattern; nearly 50 subspecies described worldwide. All of them have a greenish-blue crown, a white spot above the lores, a black mask extending down as a narrow band across the hindneck, and a white collar. Upperparts are greenish-blue, rump brighter blue, with blue wings and tail and white underparts. Female and juvenile slightly duller. Subspecies mainly differ in plumage, with upperparts varying from blue to green to olive-toned, white loral spot sometimes extending as a supercilium, and underparts sometimes buffier. Gives carious vocalizations, but most common call is a “kek-kek-kek-kek.” Frequents mangroves and tidal creeks, though sometimes inhabits other coastal habitats, including coconut plantations in islands.