The black-capped kingfisher is a tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in tropical Asia from India east to China, Korea and Southeast Asia. It is distinctive in having a black cap that contrasts with the whitish throat, purple blue wings and the coral red bill. The species is mainly found in coastal and mangrove habitats but can sometimes be found far inland.
The adult has a purple-blue wings and back, black head and shoulders, white neck collar and throat, and rufous underparts. The large bill and legs are bright red. In flight, large white patches or "mirrors" at the base of the primaries are visible on the blue and black wings. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult and show streaks on the throat.
Usually seen on coastal waters and especially in mangroves, it is easily disturbed, but perches conspicuously and dives to catch fish but also feeds on large insects. The flight of the black-capped kingfisher is rapid and direct, the short rounded wings whirring.