Very small, stocky rail with yellow legs and bill. Brown above, blue-gray below black streaking and white specks, barred flanks, and black undertail with a thick white border (unlike Baillon’s Crake, which has fine barring). Tail is often held cocked. Inhabits freshwater and saltwater wetlands with vegetated edges, where it forages on muddy shorelines, often out in the open. Calls include a clipped, squeaking "chip-chip" that extends into a rapid series.