Size: L: 20-25 cm. Wt: Males: 290 g. Females: 250 g. Males and females dimorphic in size and colour.
Adult Male: body glossy black, with red shoulder patch edged in yellow; bill sharply pointed, black; legs black
First Spring Male: body blackish-brown, with reddish shoulder patch, sometimes spotted through with brown, and yellow edge fainter; bill and legs as in adult male
Female: upperparts dark brown; underparts whitish, with heavy brown streaking; occasionally, red tinge apparent on wing coverts, chin, and/or throat; bill and legs dark brown
Juvenile: similar to female, but never with red tinge on wing coverts, chin, or throat; bill and legs as in female