Sexes alike. A long-legged, long-necked bird of open marshes. Ashygrey above; white crown, neck and underparts; black stripe after eye continues as long, black crest; blackdotted band down centre of foreneck; dark blue-black flight feathers; golden-yellow iris at close range. Mostly solitary except when breeding; occasionally enters shallow water; usually stands motionless, head pulled in between shoulders, waiting for prey to come close; characteristic flight, with head pulled back and long legs trailing.
marshes, tidal creeks, freshwater bodies.
mostly resident; subcontinent; breeds up to 1,750m in Kashmir.
loud quaak in flight.