A small, dark, long-legged terrestrial acanthizid, Nominate race is blackish-brown or black above, including upperwing and rail; chin, throat and underparts quite bright rufous to reddish-chestnut, becoming duller on lower abdomen; iris red-brown; bill brownish-grey; legs brownish-black. Differs from rather similar C. murina in being much darker above, uniformly rufous below. Sexes alike. Juvenile undescribed; suspected juvenile at Myola (Owen Stanley Range) was duller brown above, with bright reddy-chestnut throat, dull brownish underparts. Race blissi differs from nominate in having abdomen black with olive wash.