It is the largest kingfisher in Colombia. the ringed kingfisher typically hunts from higher branches and catches larger fish. When going from one place to another, he flies high, often following the river.
It measures about 40 cm, weighs between 254 and 330 g. The male is greyish blue on the upper parts, has a white throat and wide collar, rufous chest and belly. In front of the eyes it has two white semicircular spots. Their primary feathers are black and their undertail-coverts white with gray bars. Its bill is greyish black with the base of the lower jaw yellowish. The female is similar to the male but with a grayish-blue pectoral band edged with white on the underside.
It is found from Texas to «Tierra del Fuego». In Colombia it is found in the lowlands of the entire national territory, mainly below 500 m. Less frequently up to 2,600 in the Sabana of Bogotá.
It is found along rivers, lakes, swamps, estuaries, water reservoirs, mangroves, and rice crops. It can be observed in wooded areas close to the coastline.
Their diet is based on fish with a strong preference for those of the Characidae and Cichlidae families. It also consumes frogs, salamanders, reptiles, crabs, and insects.
Reproductive evidence has been recorded in February on the Island of Salamanca (Magdalena) and Inírida port (Guainía). In the southern Amazon between June and September and from the end of November to March. Also in February in Antioquia. It nests in ravines on the banks of rivers and lakes in which both members of the pair excavate a tunnel 2 to 3 m deep with a chamber at the end. They lay 3 to 6 eggs whose incubation period is 22 days. Both the incubation of the eggs and the care of the chicks is in charge of both the male and the female. The young leave the nest between days 33 and 38 after the eggs hatch.
It is generally observed patiently perching on branches that protrude above water courses. It abruptly jumps into the water where it captures its prey and carries it to the perch to hit and swallow it. Sometimes he flies over the water before jumping into it.
Sometimes included in the genus Ceryle. It forms a superspecies with M. lugubris (Asia), M. maxima (Africa) and M. alcyon (America).
At the national and international level, it is classified as a species of least concern.