Size: L: 20 cm. Wt: 45 g. Males and females similar. This species is seasonally dimorphic.
Breeding Adult: wings long (extend beyond tail at rest), dark brown, with buffy and rufous feather-tips, giving scalloped appearance; back, head, breast, and flanks whitish, heavily speckled with black; crown with rufous wash; belly and rump white; bill short, straight, black; legs blackish
Winter Adult: wings long, grey-brown, without scalloped appearance; back grey-brown; head grey-brown, with whitish face and throat, and crown speckled with blackish; breast pale grey-brown, speckled with blackish; flanks, belly and rump white; bill and legs as in breeding adult
Juvenile: wings long, brown, with buffy, white, and rufous feather-tips, giving scalloped appearance; back chestnut, with blackish speckles; head grey-brown, with whitish throat and rufous, black-speckled crown; breast and flanks with buffy wash, and faint, dark speckles; belly and rump white; bill and legs as in adults