Distinctive, tiny, short-tailed waxbill. Always shows barred breast and flanks, a red bill, and white edges to the tail. The pattern of the head and back vary across the range; can show a gray head and back (with or without a white spectacles), a brown head and back, or a black head with a brown back. Found in short grassland and other open habitats, usually near water. Inconspicuous on the ground; usually detected in flight. Call is a distinctive “jink”, most often given in flight.