Adults are slim erect birds with a brown back and foreneck, paler face and grey breast. Its long yellow legs, pure white tail and distinctive brown, white and black wings make this species unmistakable. Young birds have a scaly back, and may show some brown in the tail.
The breeding season call is a peewit, similar to Northern Lapwing.
The White-tailed Lapwing is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies