The Black Crake is a bird that is 19 to 23 cm long with a short tail and long toes. It has mainly black plumage. The eye is red, the bill is yellow, and the legs and feet are red, but they are duller when not breeding. The male is slightly larger than the female. Most males, and 10% of females have a hooked upper mandible. Immature birds have brown upper parts and a dark grey head and underparts. Downy chicks are black.