This very retiring bird lives about pools and marshes and is more often heard than seen, for it loves the cover of pond-side plants. Its very narrow body enables it to slip through the close stems of rush and reed with ease.
It has a weird set of calls, one of which resembles some animal in great agony. The nest is made of reeds and sedges, usually in swampy surroundings. Seven to twelve eggs are laid. The nestling is covered with black down.