This is a stocky species with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers.
Its appearance is transformed in flight, when it looks very white due to the colour of the wings. It is very similar to the Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides, but is darker-backed.
The Indian Pond Herons breeding habitat is marshy wetlands in warm countries. They nest in small colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. 3-5 eggs are laid. These herons feed on insects, fish and amphibians.
This is a very common species in India, where it is often quite tame and easily approachable. It can often be seen foraging around rubbish heaps on the outskirts of villages, as well as in more natural habitats.
This bird was first described by Colonel W. H. Sykes in 1832 and given its scientific name in honor of John Edward Gray.