Uncommon to locally fairly common but secretive and easily overlooked. Favors fresh marshes and wetlands with reed beds, where clambers high in reeds as well as feeding low along edges. Most likely to be seen in flight, early or late in the day, low over reed beds. Very small for a heron, and rich buffy overall with black cap. Big pale panel on upperwing visible in flight; male has dark back, female back streaked.