A fairly large weaver with a long thin pointed bill. The male has a pale eye, and during the breeding season a brownish wash to the ear. Non-breeding males and females are dull, with olive-green upperparts and paler underparts. Found locally in areas with a mix of trees, bushes, and abundant grassy ground cover. Nests adjacent water. Gives a typical weaver chattering and rasping song, and a “chek” call. Breeding males are distinctive, and other plumages can be identified with caution by a combination of their size, long and thin bill, and the pale eyes of the males.