This primarily nocturnal heron is found in marshes and swamps in wet tropical forests across most of South and Southeast Asia. Adults are reddish brown with a conspicuous black “mane.” In flight, broad black wing edges and barred underparts are conspicuous. Juveniles are a dull rusty-gray with fine to bold whitish barring throughout. During the breeding season, it is occasionally seen walking on forest paths during the day, but it is more often heard repeatedly booming at night. Although migratory in parts of its range, seasonal movements are poorly understood.