Sexes alike. White forehead and sides of head; dark slaty-grey above; silky white below; slaty-grey sides of breast and flanks; rufous on vent and under tail-coverts. Solitary or in small parties; often around village ponds and tanks, occasionally derelict patches in towns; jerks stumpy tail as it walks with long strides; climbs trees easily, especially when breeding.
reed-covered marshes, ponds, tanks, monsoon cultivation, streams.
insects, worms, molluscs, shoots of marsh plants.
south from Himalayan foothills.
very noisy when breeding during rains, a series of loud croaks and chuckles, the commonest being a harsh krr…khwakk…; often calls through the night; silent during dry season.