This is a small kingfisher, with orange head neck and underparts, olive-black back and wings, and bright blue tail. The female is distinguishable from the male be her black crown. Immatures are similar to the adults but paler, with a black eye patch that extends into a stripe behind the eye, black stripe on the upper mandible, and have black flecking through the orange plumage. Juveniles have a greyish-black bill. It is found in tropical rainforest and fringes, where monsoon forest, woodland and mangrove overlap, where it occupies the lower levels, feeding on dragonflies and other insects, lizards and worms. It is active from dawn to dusk and is generally sedentary, but fluctuating numbers at different times suggest that it may be partly migratory. Most often seen alone, in pairs or in small family groups. During the breeding season (mainly November to January) it lets out a descending trill call, but is mostly silent for the remainder of the tear.