White-breasted Waterhen has dark slate-brown upperparts. Face and underparts are white. Flanks, vent and undertail feathers are rufous-chestnut.
Bill is yellowish-green. In breeding plumage, we can see the red base on the upper mandible. Eyes are deep red. Legs and large feet are yellowish.
Both sexes are similar. Juvenile is duller than adults, with brown upperparts, and dark grey face and underparts. Bill is grey.
White-breasted Waterhen lives near freshwater marshes and in habitats with dense undergrowth. It is very common in mangroves, reedbeds, grasslands, ricefields, orchards, parks and gardens. It is also found near small streams and pools where there is dense vegetation.
White-breasted Waterhen may be seen in open area in the morning, when it feeds. It picks up while walking, with tail held upright, and flicking it. It forages on the ground, feeding on worms and snails. It also eats roots and shoots of aquatic plants, and probes in mud or shallow water with its bill.
It is also seen foraging above the ground, in bushes and small trees. It is clumsy among branches, due to its enormous feet with long toes.
However, its slender body allows it to slip through the dense vegetation.
White-breasted Waterhen feeds mainly on insects, spiders, grain, fish, worms and snails, and some parts, shoots and roots, of marsh plants.