The Chestnut Quail-thrush is a medium-sized (21- 26 centimetres) ground-dwelling thrush-like bird. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, expressed in terms of plumage pattern and smaller body size in the females. Both sexes are complexly patterned and are grey-brown above, with the lower back and rump bright chestnut, though this may be almost lacking in females. The males have a black face, chin, throat and breast and distinctive white eyebrow and malar streak. The female is overall duller and possesses a grey chin, throat, and breast. Both sexes have a clean white belly, greyish flanks and grey-brown tail, which is tipped white (very obvious in flight). The iris is brown, bill black, and the legs grey. Juveniles are similar to adult females but duller, with some darker mottling on the upperparts, while immature males may exhibit some of the black markings of the adult. This species, particularly the female, can be difficult to distinguish from the Chestnut-breasted and Cinnamon Quail-thrushes. Both of these species are smaller, but habitat may be the best way to separate these species (the former preferring rocky hills and the latter in stony gibber plains or low chenopod shrubland).