Rigidipenna inexpectata is a typical, medium to large sized, cryptic frogmouth showing little sexual dimorphism. Its features include:
Juvenile plumage is unknown.
The frogmouths have traditionally been divided into 2 genera within the family Podargidae and genetic data not only supports their monophyly but also suggests that their lineages may be quite old.
Analysis of molecular data also reveals that Rigidipenna inexpectata deserves recognition within its own genus and that it might be basal to the other 2 genera.
The Solomon Islands frogmouth now joins an extant species of owl and an extinct species of pigeon as representatives of genera endemic to islands that once belonged to the large Pleistocene island of Greater Bukida (Cleere et al 2006).
Although similar in appearance to races of Podargus ocellatus, no other frogmouths occur on any of the Solomon Islands, so identification should not be an issue.