Has dark gray upperparts and cap, white lower face and nape, white underparts with gray flanks, red-brown neck and dark brown eyes. It has a long thick yellow bill with a dark tip and black legs and feet.
Breeds from Alaska and northern Canada south to Oregon, Idaho, Ontario, and southern Minnesota; rarely east to southern Quebec. Spends winters south along coasts to southern California and Georgia, and rarely to Florida. Summer habitats include ponds and lakes; found on large lakes, coastal bays, and estuaries during winter and migration.