The Ruff shows sexual dimorphism; the male (29–32 cm long) is much larger than the female (22–26 cm long) and has a breeding plumage that includes brightly coloured head tufts, bare orange facial skin, extensive black on the breast, an orange bill and a large collar of ornamental feathers.
The female and the non-breeding male have grey-brown upperparts and mainly white underparts.
In winter, the plumage of the male is similar to that of the female, but the sexes are distinguishable on size.
The plumage of the juvenile Ruff resembles the non-breeding adult, but has upperparts with a neat, scale-like pattern with dark feather centres, and a strong buff tinge to the underparts.
The adult Ruff usually has orange legs while juveniles have greenish/yellowish legs.

1st photo: An adult male in non-breeding plumage. Ezumakeeg, Lauwersmeer National Park, The Netherlands, 16 April 2021
2nd & 3rd photo: Adults in breeding plumage. Eemnesserpolder, Eemnes, The Netherlands, 4 July 2012
4th photo: Juveniles in winter plumage. Texel, The Netherlands, 19 October 2018
5th photo: An adult female in winter plumage. Nature Reserve Harderbroek, Zeewolde, The Netherlands, 17 September 2019

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