Above, olive-brown spotted with dusky; beneath, bluish gray; flanks with black and white bars.
Entire length eleven inches five lines: length of the bill (from the forehead) one inch seven lines, (from the gape) one inch eight lines and a half; of the tarsus one inch eight lines; of the naked part of the tibia six lines; of the middle toe, claw included, two inches; of the tail two inches three lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing four inches eight lines: breadth, wings extended, sixteen inches.
Crown of the head, and all the upper parts, olive-brown, with a dusky spot in the middle of each feather: chin whitish; sides of the head, sides and fore part of the neck, breast and belly, deep ash or lead-gray; flanks with alternate transverse bars of black and white; under tail-coverts white: quills dusky brown: tail blackish; the feathers edged with olive-brown: bill red; the culmen, and tips of both mandibles, brown: irides red: legs and toes brownish flesh colour. A white variety is said to have occurred not long since in Berkshire†. (Egg). BufFy white; the larger end speckled with ash-gray and orange-brown: long. diam. one inch four lines; trans, diam. one inch.
Not uncommon in most parts of the country, frequenting marshes, streams, and the banks of rivers. Remains with us the whole year. Nest placed amongst rushes and other aquatic herbage. Eggs six to ten in number. Food, insects, and molluscous animals; also vegetables.