In flight, seen from below, this elegant valve is distinguished by its black and white wings. In adults, the bill is pink with a black terminal tip. The orbital ring and long legs are also pinkish. The spurs on the wrists of the wings are red. The vast majority of the upper parts are brownish grey but the shoulders are covered with a bronzed green luster. The occiput is decorated with long black feathers that form a thin, pointed crest. The forehead and throat have a black longitudinal spot. The chest is crossed by a wide black band that descends almost to the top of the belly.