This diminutive heron is fairly common in its preferred wetland habitat, but secretive and easily overlooked. Tiny size and attractive pattern of orange, black, and white is distinctive among herons within its range. Males are blacker above; females are browner. Occurs throughout much of North and South America, where it can be found in marshes with a mix of open water and vegetation, often with cattails, phragmites, or lily pads. Usually seen perched motionlessly, straddling reeds at the edge of water. Occasionally makes short flights just above the reeds. Listen for the soft cooing song, given during the day and at night.