Breeding males are unmistakable: brilliant red with black wings and tail. Females and nonbreeding males are dull yellow-olive with dark wings (blacker on males, grayer on females). Compare with female Summer Tanager, which has a longer bill and less contrast between wing and body color.
Breeds in mature deciduous forests, usually staying high in the canopy. Migrants are also usually found in mature woodlands. Winters in northern South America. Occasionally visits feeders in the spring, especially after periods of rain or cold weather. Listen for burry song, like an American Robin with a sore throat.