A lily-trotter with unmistakable long legs and very long toes; glossy black head, neck, underparts; glossy bronzegreen upperparts; prominent white supercilium; yellow bill with blue/ red frontal shield; rump, tail, undertailcoverts chestnut; sociable, except in breeding season; fairly tame but wary; will feed in open, often hides partially under water among aquatic plants; walks on floating vegetation; active diurnal feeder.
Sexes alike. Male: breeding plumage chocolate-brown and white; goldenyellow on hind-neck. Dull brown and white; when not breeding, also has blackish necklace and lacks long tail; very long toes diagnostic. Solitary or in pairs when breeding; small flocks in winter; purely aquatic, moving on vegetation-covered pond surfaces; unusually long toes enable it to walk on the lightest of floating leaves; quite confiding on village ponds.