Standing motionless, typically solitary, in shallow water (2), the Madagascar heron is a patient hunter (2), which uses its keen eyesight to scan the surrounding water for signs of movement below the surface (3). With its head bent into an s-shape, upon spying its prey, the heron rapidly shoots its head forward and captures the fish in its dagger-like bill (3). It feeds primarily on medium to large fish, around 1.5 times the size of its bill, but has also been reported to take eels, up to 48 centimetres long (2), and crustaceans (4).
The breeding season of the Madagascar heron is not entirely clear (2), although it is possible breeding takes place year round (4). It may breed in small colonies, with other species or solitary, and constructs a nest in the tree-tops or in a hollow in a rock, where it lays three eggs (4).