Upper parts olivaceous red, with numerous white spots on the back and wings: these last reaching to half the length of the tail: bill green: legs flesh-colour.
Dimeists. Entire length seven inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) eight lines, (from the gape) eight lines and a half; of the naked part of the tibia five lines; of the tarsus one inch and half a line; of the middle toe, claw included, one inch six lines; of the tail one inch eight lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing three inches five lines.
(Adult male). Crown of the head, and back of the neck, wood-brown; throat, cheeks, front and sides of the neck, breast and belly, bluish gray: back, scapulars, and wing-coverts, yellowish brown, tinged with olivaceous, and marked with numerous irregular white spots, each surrounded by a black border: flanks, abdomen, and under tail-coverts, black, with narrow transverse white bars: bill dark green, thicker and shorter than in the next species: irides reddish: legs and toes flesh-colour. In the female the colours are the same, but of a paler tint. (Young). Throat, and middle of the belly, white, with transverse undulations of cinereous and olivaceous brown; flanks olivaceous, spotted with white: upper parts as in the adult, but the white spots fewer in number: bill greenish brown. (Egg). Light olive-brown, spotted with darker brown: long. diam. one inch one line; trans, diam. nine lines and a half.
A rare and accidental visitant in this country. A specimen, caught alive at Melbourne in Cambridgeshire, in January 1823, is now in the collection of Dr Thackeray. According to Sheppard, it has also occurred in Suffolk. Common in the southern and eastern parts of Europe. Frequents the same situations as the last species. Food similar. Nest always placed in the vicinity of water. Eggs seven or eight in number.