Small, chunky robin-like bird. Males are black and white, with a variable amount of rufous on the underparts. Ethiopian population has a black chest and no red. Females are dark brown on the back and pale below. Both sexes show a variable white wing patch. Found in a wide variety of open habitats, including grassland, heath, marsh, and scrub. Perches up conspicuously. Song is a quick jumbled mix of musical and raspy notes. Similar to the migratory Whinchat, but lacks conspicuous white eye-stripe, and shows white on the rump rather than the base of the tail.