Tiny rotund, short-tailed bird, scarcely larger than a sparrow; like a diminutive partridge or quail but only distantly related. Brown with scaly streaking above, extensive black barring on the chest (more extensive on the female), and rich tawny flanks. Extremely difficult to detect, moving about invisibly in dense weedy vegetation in fields, forest edges, and farmland. Flying birds have whirring flight, show contrast between dark flight feathers and paler coverts. Courting females give sonorous, booming calls from dense vegetation.