It is a small and delicate flamingo, approximately 3 feet in height. Its plumage is pale pink, with bright carmine streaks around the neck and on the back. When perched a small amount of black can be seen in the wings. There is bright red skin around the eye. The legs are brick-red and the bill is bright yellow with a black tip. Immature birds are greyish.
James's Flamingo is similar to other South American flamingoes, but the Chilean Flamingo is pinker, with a longer bill without yellow, and the Andean Flamingo is larger with more black in the wings and bill, and yellow legs.