Mostly light blue-grey in colour. The forehead, crown, chin and upper throat are white. It has a long, slim neck and a pointed grey-black bill. The legs are long and dull yellow in colour. Easily identifiable when seen from below with the dark flight feathers of the wing contrasting with the paler grey plumage.
Males and females are similar. When breeding, the birds have long feathers (nuptial plumes) on the head, neck and back. Young are similar in appearance to non-breeding adults, with little to no white on the face; underparts often have a reddish colour.
Its characteristic white face.
60 - 70 cm in height
Feeds on many different species including fish, insects and amphibians. They find their prey by either searching through wetlands with their bill or standing, waiting and watching for movement in the water.
A slow bouncing flight.
Breeding habits commence outside in response to rainfall. Both sexes share the responsibility of building the nest and incubating the egg. The nest is found in a tree and to the untrained eye resembles a bundle of untidy sticks. They only raise one brood of young a year.