It is medium-sized, plump wading bird. Long reddish-brown bill, slightly decurved at tip, and distinct white or pinkish eye patch. Rounded, buff-spotted wings and short tail. White of breast extends up around top of folded wing. The painted-snipe is not related to the true snipes and differs from them in habits, flight and appearance, being far more colorful and having longer legs than the snipes. It is unusual in showing reversed sexual dimorphism; the female is larger and more brightly colored than the male, with the sides of the head, neck and throat a rich chestnut brown, and a distinct black band across the breast; the male is paler and greyer.