A stocky, broad-shouldered blackbird with a slender, conical bill and a medium-length tail. Males are glossy black with red-and-yellow shoulder badges. Females are crisply streaked and dark brownish overall, paler on the breast and often show a whitish eyebrow.
Fresh and saltwater marshes, along watercourses, water hazards on golf courses, and wet roadsides, as well as drier meadows and old fields. In winter, at crop fields, feedlots, and pastures.