Very small paradisaeid with upper ridge of culmen sharply keeled to knife edge (as in C. respublica and Semiopiera). Male nominate race has crimson head, chin, breast and upperparts, more orange on forecrown and tuft of elongate plush feathering over culmen base, discrete spot of black feathering above central eye showing iridescent dark green; elongate mantle "cape" feathers, back, rump, tertials and some upper-wing-coverts crimson to carmine with intense white iridescence, uppertail-coverts duller, more orange (less glossy crimson); upperwing predominantly glossy crimson, flight-feathers and some coverts variably brown; uppertail dark brownish-olive with brown-orange outer feather edges, elongated central feather pair reduced to fine bare red-brown central shafts with remarkable terminal spiral discs, latter (formed of inner feather web) iridescent metallic dark green with bronzed-yellow sheen; lowermost crimson throat feathers finely tipped pale buff where they meet narrow breast shield of iridescent dark green (can appear jet-black to burnished green-yellow in some lights); on each side of shield several elongate erectile fan-shaped olive-brown pectoral plumes, these pinkish-buff immediately prior to a broad iridescent tip of metallic bright green; remaining undcrparts white; iris pale brown to dark brown or greyish-brown; bill ivory-yellow, mouth pale aqua-green; legs violaceous cobalt-blue to blue-grey. Female is similar in size to male, but tail (excluding central rectrices) longer; plumage radically different, in cryptically drab-coloured olive-brown above, with rusty margins on greater coverts, remiges and tail feathers, often with paler, huffier area above eye, variably buff on breast, flanks and lower belly, and entire underside finely and uniformly barred dark brown; bill and legs duller than adult male's. Newly fledged juvenile (11 days) has upper head brown, tinged russet, with light superciliary stripe with dark spot above, upperparts and tail grey-brown, wing feathers darker brown, greater coverts and outer primaries red-brown, chin grey-tinged brownish-yellow with fine streaks and points, underparts light grey with dark barring, iris grey-brown, bill-horn coloured, legs paler blue than female; immature male like adult, younger (darker-billed) individuals having much orange-rufous on wing-coverts and outer edges of flight-feathers, and orange-rufous wash on upper breast and (more so) to side of it, but steadily losing this as acquiring increasingly paler bill and then the ted of adult plumage, rectrices pointed at tips; subadult male variable, like adult female with few feathers of adult male plumage intruding to like adult male with few feathers of female-like plumage remaining; with age, male acquires progressively shorter outer rectrices while simultaneously gaining progressively longer centra) pair. Race coccineifrons is very like nominate, differs only in having central pair of rectrices and bill slightly longer.