Medium-sized sandpiper. Moderately short neck. Moderately long, drooping bill. Moderately long, blackish legs. Slightly hunched appearance. In breeding plumage has black belly, rufous cap, and rufous back. Nonbreeding plumage is all dull brownish gray, with whitish belly.
Juvenile has reddish back with more scaly edges to back feathers, and brownish black splotches on belly.