Small and slim with a thick, pale eyebrow, a dark crown with a pale central crown stripe, and a heavily striped back reminiscent of the patterning of a snipe. Often perches acrobatically, gripping two stems at once. Breeds in open wet marshlands with scattered bushes or trees, often in areas with sedges; uses reed beds on migration; winters in West Africa, where it uses extensive shallow marshes. Song is fast and chattering. Rare across much of range; population is declining fast due to habitat loss.