Slender, medium-sized heron. Slaty-blue overall with a white belly and white underwings. Extremely long bill. In breeding plumage, look for buffy plumes on the lower back and orange tones on the throat and foreneck. Juveniles are stained rusty on the neck and shoulders. Fairly common but with restricted range in the southeastern U.S., mainly along the coast. More widespread in Central America and northern South America. Occurs in shallow wetlands, marshes, and mudflats. Often forages actively, darting around erratically and chasing after fish.