A small finchlike bird. Males have a gray hood and back with a rusty belly that contrasts with white plumage extending from the cheeks to the breast. The “zelichi” morph is deep brown above and below with a black cap and a white breast and head. Females are olive-brown above and buff below. Both sexes have a white wing spot. Inhabits marshy areas with tall mature grasses; can be found in flocks with others seedeaters during migration.