A short, stout thrush with an overall black appearance with a black beak and legs.  The short tail, wings and head are slaty -black with a blue tinge on back, scapulars and breast.  The bright blue patch on the shoulder is often hidden on closed wings.  The female is brown, also with blue shoulder patch.  A scarce and shy bird with crepuscular habits found only above 1000 metres, but most likely to be seen near streams above 1300 metres.