A small, dark grey heron with a black crown, dark green back and paler grey underparts. The legs and feet are bright orange-yellow. From behind easily confused with Dwarf Bittern, but the latter has more uniformly dark grey upperparts. The black, wispy nape plume is not usually seen except when the bird alights.
Juvenile is streaked brown and buff and has dull orange legs.
Frequents mangrove stands and coral reefs at low tide, as well as freshwater dams.
A characteristic, sharp 'baaek' when the bird takes to flight.