Breeding bird has a red bill, and buff plumes on the head, breast and mantle, but is never as dark as Squacco Heron. The bill is shorter and more robust than in other white herons, and there is a noticable shaggy bib and throat that give this species a distinct jowl. The legs are never black, but vary from dark brown to yellowish green, and are red at the start of the breeding season (August to February).
Juvenile and immature resemble non-breeding adult.
Essentially non-aquatic; most often found in association with cattle or game. Highly gregarious.
Typical, heron-like 'aaaark' or 'pok-pok'.