An erect, large-bodied and small-headed wader, very variable in plumage and size. In non-breeding plumage, scalloped brownish-grey above with greyish, brownish, or occasionally, in males, white head, neck and breast. The male acquires crown tippets and neck ruff of varying colours in spring. Legs are usually orange, greenish when young. Bill rather short and slightly down-curved. In characteristic, rather easy, flight shows thin wing bars and white ovals on dark rump. Feeds in large, often single sex flocks. Eats insects and grain.