A unique, slender magpie-like bird with a long narrowing tail and a chunky bill. Adults are uniform glossy black; immatures have black-tipped pink bills. Resident in open savanna with palms, in cultivated areas, and in rural villages. Forages on the ground in groups, often near larger mammals including domestic stock, walking on the ground or riding on the back of the mammal. Also perches in treetops and palms when roosting or resting. Loaded with character. Groups sometimes become garrulous when calling to each other, mostly giving piping high-pitched starling-like “cheeet” calls.