The rufous head and neck and dark grey wings are distinctive; much smaller than Goliath Heron, and marked on the crown and neck with black stripes.
Juvenile and immature lack the grey nape and mantle of adult, are less streaked on the neck and have far less black on the crown.
Aquatic, favouring sedges and reeds in freshwater and estuarine habitats. Reluctant to feed in the open.
Similar to Grey Heron's 'kraaark'.