This species is 18 to 19 cm (7.1 to 7.5 in) long. These small short-tailed starlings have a long narrow bill, robust bodies, strong feet and a distinctive plumage pattern. Adults have black heads and iridescent blue-to-green back, upper breast, wings, and tail. The belly is red-orange, separated from the blue breast by a white bar. The undertail coverts and the wing linings are white. Juveniles have duller plumage with no more than a suggestion of the white breast band. Their eyes are brown at first, later grayish white.The superb starling has a long and loud song consisting of trills and chatters. At midday it gives a softer song of repeated phrases. There are several harsh calls, the most complex of which is described as "a shrill, screeching skerrrreeee-cherrrroo-tcherreeeeeet."