The only munia in its range that is found only close to forests. Male is black on face, throat, and center of breast; crown to lower back is brown with whitish shaft streaks. Female is much like male, but often more spotted on rump. Juvenile is unmarked brown above and lacks the distinct black on the face and breast. Birds in Sri Lanka have more scaly underparts, while Indian birds have buff flanks and lower breast. Found in forest edges, grasslands, gardens in the hills, and tea plantations across all altitude belts.