Common breeding resident of low country dry zone marshes, tanks, paddy fields and lagoons. However there are considerable number of breeding birds in wet zone especially wetlands around Colombo, said to be originated from a colony at the Dehiwela zoo. Its food consists of frogs, insects, crabs, worms, etc. It is partially nocturnal and flocks forming V formation can be seen flying to distance feeding grounds at dusk from their day time roosting places. It breeds during early part of the year colonially with other species of herons, egrets etc on a nest made out of piles of sticks in trees in flooded water.