A medium-sized, stocky lark with a small bill and barred and scalloped feathers on the head and upperparts, giving it a scaly appearance. The plumage varies geographically, with South African birds being brighter and rustier, and northern birds being duller and grayer. Pairs forage for insects in grassland, often in rocky areas. During the September to February breeding season, the male perches on small rock or low bush, before rising up 3-5 meters in the air with a steady wing-clapping display, then giving a single whistled note “phoooee” and parachuting down to the ground on raised wings. The similar Cape Clapper Lark is smaller than Eastern Clapper Lark, with less rufous coloration on the body and wings, and an accelerating wing-clapping display.