Small, big-billed, short-tailed waxbill. Shows profound geographical variation: a rufous back in southeastern Africa, and a black back in central and western Africa. Black-backed birds vary from having white barring on the wings and tail to having completely black wings and tail. Juveniles are very drab and brown but can usually be identified by their association with adults. Found in forest, moist woodland, and gardens, often in patches of seeding grass. Usually in small flocks. Call is a descending “teew”. Similar to Bronze Mannikin but has an all-blue bill and never shows a brown back.