An elongated matte-black bird with black legs and a slender, strongly-decurved black bill. Females and juveniles are browner on the front. In flight it has white tail tips and a single band of white towards the end of the wing. Avoids forest; singles or pairs are found in arid and broadleaved woodland, where they are found clambering around on trunks, probing for invertebrates, and often joining mixed-species flocks. It is most easily detected by its plaintive, whistled, three-noted “wheeep, wheeep, wheeep” call. The very similar Black Scimitarbill differs from tby having a shorter, less decurved bill and a shorter tail. Abyssinian Scimitarbill has an orange bill. Woodhoopoes are larger, with chunkier reddish bill, more social habits, and glossy iridescent plumage.