Ring Ouzel Bird is similar in size and shape to the Blackbird, although it appears longer and slimmer with its longer wings and tail. The Ring Ouzel Bird (male) in spring is unmistakable, with a broad white gorget on the breast. The plumage is charcoal-black overall, and at all ages it has pale edges to the wing feathers, giving the wings a pale appearance in flight. The female is dark brown with a duller, brown-washed scaly gorget on the breast and pale scaling on the underparts. Autumn birds are browner and much more scaly, as are immatures, which also lack any obvious breast band.
A summer visitor, which in Britain and northern Europe breeds in hill country, typically in broken ground with rocky outcrops. Ring Ouzel Bird favours open moorland and fells, bare mountainsides, boulder-strewn slopes with gullies, with only a scattering of sparse or stunted trees. Alpine populations, however, nest in open coniferous forest. On migration it can be seen in farmland, dunes, pastures, coastal scrub and in berry-bearing hedges.
The song is afar-carrying simple repetitive collection of phrases, quite rich in tone and interspersed with strangled twittering notes that often tail off. Ring Ouzel Bird is marked by deliberate pauses between each set of notes, sounding both languid and desolate, such as "tchuetchuetchue... tchu'eetchu'eetchu'ee... pl'in pl'in pl'in... trretrretrre... khshrrr... tshrrr'iii... tschrr'ir'ri'i'i... che che che...", etc. The call notes are hard 'tacking'-type sounds, quite unlike those of the Blackbird, and repeated two or three times or more, such as "tahk tahk tahk". It also has an almost clicking "trr trr trr", a rather Fieldfare-like chuckling rattle "chrk chrk chrk", and a very hard stony "trkk trkk trkk" sound with the resonant quality of a pebble bouncing on ice. Also gives a thin high squeak similar to that of the Fieldfare.