A small, gorgeous swallow with blue-black upperparts, rump, and face, and uniform rich rufous chin, throat and underparts. In flight the underwing coverts are rufous. The juvenile is duller than the adult. Singles or pairs are scarce in grassland and savanna, often associated with the edges of swamps, rivers and partially flooded areas. Similar Red-throated Swallow has a reddish rump and is less rufous below than the much more neatly-plumaged Black-and-Rufous Swallow; other similar swallows are larger with longer tails, red rumps and paler underwing coverts.