Lapwing the size of a jackdaw or slightly smaller. It is easily distinguished from other shorebirds by its black and white coloration and blunt wings. Upper side with a strong metallic green, bronze and purple sheen; black chest; sides of the body, abdomen and sides of the head are white; tail coverts are rufous; the main half of the tail feathers, as in all species related to the lapwing, are pure white; on the head is a crest of very narrow long feathers. In the summer plumage, both the throat and goiter are black; in the winter, a large admixture of white feathers is noticeable here. The beak is black; dark brown eyes; crimson four-toed feet. Wing dimensions 21.5-23.75 cm.
The male in breeding plumage has a black top of the head and a long crest with a greenish metallic sheen; the sides and back of the neck are whitish: the rest of the upper body is metallic green with purple and copper tints; the predominant color of the flight feathers is black; tail coverts are rufous; tail feathers are white with a wide black band before the end; face, front of the neck and goiter black with a bluish tint; the rest of the bottom is white, except for the red undertail; beak is black, legs are red. The crest of the female is shorter, the metallic sheen is weaker. In winter, the throat, front of the neck and crop are almost completely white.