Medium-sized, plump shorebird with long bill. Found in a variety of wet habitats, but generally prefers saltwater marshes, beaches, and mudflats. Breeding birds are intricately patterned; generally dark with gold spangles above and orange below. Sides are barred, not spotted like Long-billed Dowitcher, otherwise extremely similar to Long-billed in all plumages, especially winter when both species are plain gray. Long-billed tends to favor freshwater habitats, but much overlap. Most obvious difference is voice; Short-billed gives rapid series of notes "tu-tu-tu" unlike single piercing "keek!" of Long-billed.