Male Bobolinks in breeding plumage are visually striking birds. Their plumage has been described as looking like a skunk, a backward tuxedo, or a broken egg running down their back. They are solid black below, with black faces, light yellow napes, black and white streaked backs, and white rumps. Females are buff-brown with streaked backs and plain buff underparts. They have plain faces, dark eye-lines, and dark and light head stripes. They could easily be misidentified as a large sparrow, especially because they have thick, short bills and are smaller than most blackbirds. Males in non-breeding plumage look like females.