Lanky bunting with a gray head, chestnut-brown wings, and a sharp bicolored bill. Male has a intricately streaked face featuring three bright white stripes and dark streaks on the chest. Female has a ghost of the male’s pale stripes, lacking any dark stripes. African subspecies are a richer chestnut and darker-headed than Asian birds. Breeds in rocky scrub often in or near villages and farms. Territorial in the breeding season, but often forms flocks in the winter. Song is a quick series of rolling buzzes and sweet whistles. Call is a simple, sparrowlike chip.