Differentiated from the larger Great Egret by its noticeably shorter neck, which is not held in such a pronounced S-shape, and by the shorter bill. The gape does not extend behind the eye but ends just below it. Although not easily seen, the yellowish upper legs are diagnostic. Differs from Cattle Egret by its larger size, longer bill and more slender appearance. When breeding, it has long plumes on the back and chest, a reddish bill and upper legs, and lime-green lores.
Juvenile and immature resemble adult.
Flooded veld and marshes and any damp, grassy areas, but infrequently near open water.
Typical heronlike 'waaaark'.