Size: L: 20 cm. Wt: 40 g. Males and females are similar in size and plumage colour. This species is seasonally dimorphic.

Breeding Adult: upperparts brown, with fine black barring; double eyestripe, white over dark; underparts white, with large, black spots; bill straight, orange, with black tip; legs orange-yellow

Winter Adult: upperparts brown, with fine dark brown scalloping; a smudge of brown extends from back onto upper breast; double eyestripe, white over dark; underparts white, without spots; bill dark, may have orange base; legs greenish-yellow

Juvenile: similar to winter adult, but scalloping on upperparts more visible, and smudge does not extend as far onto breast; difficult to tell from winter adult

Nestling: precocial and downy; underparts white; sides of head and forehead pale buff, with dark streak through eye to ear; upperparts mottled pale brown and blackish; broad dark band extends along midline from crown to rump; bill pale pink; legs long, pale pink