Very small, striped buffy heron of wetlands and lake edges with dense reeds and rushes. Boldly striped back pattern is distinctive. In flight shows contrasting broad rusty trailing edge to wings. Usually seen as single birds hidden in reeds or making short flights low over reeds or across patches of open water. Clambers easily and stealthily; hunts from perches over water, where sits patiently before stabbing at fish. Mostly silent.