A typical mostly olive-brown thrush, with rufous coloration restricted to the center of the belly. It is most easily identified by range. Pairs occupy dense scrub and thickets in arid savanna and Karoo, grassland, and urban gardens on the South African highveld. The species gives a varied song and typical thrush “chk-chk” or thin “tseeep” calls. It is an understory specialist that sometimes skulks, but at other times can be quite bold. The similar Olive Thrush differs from Karoo Thrush in its rufous (not olive) flanks, its brown (not yellow-orange) eye-ring, its dark brown (not yellow) base to the upper mandible of the bill, and its streakier throat.