- Length: 22 inches Wingspan: 38 inches
- Sexes similar
- Medium-sized long-legged long-necked wader
- Bill fairly long and pointed
- Variably yellowish or blue-gray bill with black tip
- Usually holds neck in an "S" curve at rest and in flight
- White belly and foreneck
- Blue-gray head, neck, back and upperwings
- White line along foreneck
- In alternate plumage, long blue filamentous plumes about head and
neck, and buff ones on the back
- Rich chestnut head and neck
- Chestnut feathering on blue-gray back
No other dark herons have a contrasting white belly.
Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.