A large, chunky, thickset weaver. The male is chocolate-brown with red legs and a hefty vermilion bill; the female and juvenile are paler and streaky underneath, with paler bills. In flight the species shows striking white wing patches. Family groups prefer dry woodlands with large trees that hold their sprawling and messy communal nests. Buffalo-Weavers forage on the ground in small to large groups, often in association with starlings and other birds, searching for insects, seeds, and fruit. Their odd electronic-sounding vocalizations often draw attention to them. The similar White-billed Buffalo-Weaver does not have a red or pinkish-orange bill.