Size: L: 27 cm. Wt: Males: 130 g. Females: 115 g. Males and females are similar in colour; males somewhat larger than females. This species is not seasonally dimorphic.

Adult: wings black, with fine, white feather-tips; back blackish-brown, with distinctive white line demarcating back from wing; head with two broad, blackish stripes on crown, buffy stripe over eye, dark stripe through eye, dark stripe across lower cheek; neck and breast dark buff, with heavy black streaking; flanks whitish, with even, vertical black barring; belly white; tail chestnut, with black and white bands at tip; bill long, heavy, brownish; legs greenish; feet with long toes

Nestling: precocial and downy; down rufous overall, with blackish markings and heavy white speckling over head, back, and wings; irregular black lines through eye and across cheek, meeting both in front and behind eye; bill blackish; legs grey