A medium-sized, long-tailed bee-eater of open areas. Pale green below with deep green wings; pale blue above and below the base of the tail and below the black mask on the face. Tail turquoise, with extended central tail feathers. Similar in shape and size to Blue-tailed Bee-eater, but Rufous-crowned has the obvious rufous crown and back and lacks the rufous band across the lower throat. Voice is a double-noted “killit,” repeated regularly.