The white-winged lark is similar in size and shape to the skylark with long rounded wings, a forked tail, and an upright stance. The male has streaked grey-brown upperparts with a rufous shoulder and rump, dark tail, and bright white underparts. The wing has black outer flight feathers and white inner flight feathers which form a distinctive wing patch. In flight there is a broad white band across the hind wing. The head is streaked with a rufous crown and ear coverts, a white streak through the eye, and a white collar around the neck. The eyes are dark brown, the bill is grey, and the legs are buff-coloured.
The female is similar but is streaked grey-brown on the crown and the rufous parts are duller.
Its song consists of trills, chirps, harsh rasps, and twitters, and is more melodious than that of a skylark.