The meadowhawks form a group of small, late-season skimmers that can be difficult to tell apart. The Kalosympetrum subgenus in particular, which includes the ruby, white-faced, cherry-faced, and Jane's meadowhawks, are often difficult to distinguish and their taxonomic status is not in agreement among experts. To identify meadowhawks, notice the coloration of the face, legs, and wing veins in addition to the body. Mature males in all species, except for the black meadowhawk, have red markings, including females in some species.
The mature male of this red and black species is distinctive because of its bright white face. However, females and juveniles can have yellowish, greenish, or brown faces and can be very difficult to separate from other species. The length of this dragonfly varies from 1.2 to 1.5 inches. This species is very similar to the cherry-faced meadowhawk, separated by their genitalia. The white-faced meadowhawk is usually slightly smaller than the cherry-faced meadowhawk.
This species is common throughout Canada and United States, except for the south. It is usually found at ponds, lakes, marshes, bogs, and slow streams. It is abundant in the last half of summer and the autumn throughout Wisconsin.
Typical flight season is late June to mid-October in Wisconsin.