- Large shorebird
- Long decurved bill
- Dark legs
- Grayish-white and brown head stripes
- Brown upperparts with small light and dark spots
- Brown streaked neck and breast
- White belly and undertail coverts
- Plain upperparts, no wing stripe and dark rump (most birds in US)
- Juvenile has larger buff spots on the upperparts
Long-billed Curlew is larger, has longer bill, and lacks head stripes.
In Alaska, Bristle-thighed Curlew has rusty tail and rump.