A medium-sized, stunningly plumaged shorebird of grassy fields and marshes. Both sexes have a bright white “comma” around the eye and white underparts that extend up in an arc above the shoulder. As in phalaropes, the male is much duller than the female. The female has a bright reddish-brown head and greenish-tinged back and wings; the more cryptically colored male has a light brown head and brown upperparts dappled with orange and tan spots, thus more similar to snipe. Displaying female gives a series of owl-like hoots.