A large, blackish aquatic crake with prominent white bill and frontal shield. Looks tailless. Sootyblack head and neck with a more grey than black body and whitish trailing edge to wings. Sexes alike. Juvenile has whitish throat and foreneck, grey bill with no shield. Greenish feet. Feeds on vegetable matter. Flocks may panic and splatter clumsily across the water. Flies low but strongly, with lobed toes projecting. Builds anchored, floating reed nest.
Large swimming flocks on open water of jheels and rivers, often mixing with duck. Walks on floating vegetation.
Common winter visitor throughout lowlands but rather sporadic breeder.
Quite noisy. An abrupt towk, a sharper pseek and various conversational chucklings.