Tiny, with long wings and a short greenish bill with a small red base. Face and underparts are plain slaty gray on male, and buffy to whitish on female and juvenile. Adults have plain flanks and boldly barred undertail coverts. Juvenile has barred flanks; compare to similar Baillon’s Crake. Breeds in freshwater wetlands with extensive emergent vegetation, and spends the non-breeding season in a wide range of marshy habitats. Often favors deeper-water aquatic plant stands than other rails and crakes, clambering about nimbly amongst the vegetation. Usually retiring and rarely seen, but can be confiding. Males give a long song that starts with a series of “qwek” notes that eventually accelerates and tapers off; females respond with a descending trill with a similar quality.