A large, robust bushshrike with a chunky hook-tipped bill, a bright yellow eye, and a massive gray head with a small pale patch in front of the eye. Singles and pairs inhabit arid thornveld, broadleaf woodland, riverine forest, and thickets, seldom joining flocks. The species forages slowly and deliberately, hopping along branches diligently searching for large insects and small vertebrates. A low-pitched, extended sorrowful “whhooooooo” song is given up to 50 times in succession, along with other harsh clicks and rasps. Other similar large bushshrikes are rainforest specialists and have more pale in front of the eye.