Males are mostly pinkish-red, and females have a brown back, a gray head, and pinkish underparts. Both sexes have a dark bill with a pinkish area at the base, an extensive black belly, and no white spots on the underparts. Found along forest edge and in overgrown cultivation, lush savanna, and scrub. Usually in pairs or small groups, sometimes mixed with other waxbills. Similar to several other firefinches, but separated by the lack of white spots below. Male further separated from similar species by the all-red head. The song is a series of low whistles, and the calls include “chet” notes and a short trill.