A fairly small, slim weaver with a chunky bill. Always shows a dark bill and eye. Breeding male is distinctive, with bright yellow overall plumage and a black mask that grades into chestnut at its edges. Females, non-breeding males, and juveniles are much duller, but show streaking on the back and pale underparts. Found mainly in wetlands, though the species will range into surrounding dry savanna. Almost always found in flocks. Plumages other than the breeding male’s can be hard to separate from other weavers, but can be cautiously identified by the dark bill and eye, fairly pale overall coloration, and size and shape. Vocalizations are typical of weavers: “chek” notes and a sizzling “radio static” song.