Speckled black and white plumage diagnostic; black nuchal crest; double black gorget across breast in male. The female differs in having a single, broken breast gorget. Solitary, in pairs or in small groups; always around water, perched on poles, tree stumps or rocks; hovers when hunting, bill pointed down as wings beat rapidly; dives fast, headlong on sighting fish; batters catch on perch; calls in flight. The Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris of Himalayan streams and rivers can be identified by larger size (41cm), larger crest and white nuchal collar.
streams, rivers, ponds; sometimes coastal areas.
chiefly fish; occasionally tadpoles and water insects.
subcontinent, up to about 2,000m in Himalaya.
piercing, twittering chirrruk…chirruk… cries in flight, sounding as if the bird is complaining.