A compact, elegant pratincole, mostly pale gray above with a warm buffy nape that sometimes extends to the breast and a striking black-and-white face pattern; the legs and base of the bill are reddish. In flight, the striking black-and-white patterning in the wings and tail is unique. Juvenile is scalier and buffier than adult. Flocks prefer wide slow-flowing rivers, where they sit on open sandbanks or forage with swooping flight on long wings, displaying typical pratincole aerial prowess. May move away from regular haunts as a result of floods or drought. Calls include a high-pitched trilling “tre-tre-tretretretretret-teet-teet--teet” that accelerates and then decelerates. The similar Rock Pratincole is darker than Gray, with a different head pattern; Egyptian Plover could be confused in flight, but its dark head and facial pattern and direct flight low over the water differentiate it.