The combination of a red bill, yellow-green eye-ring, and brown (not black) undertail are characteristic of this firefinch. The male has a pink face, crown, and underparts, while the female is mostly brown with a small pink patch between the eye and bill and a pink upper tail. Pairs and small flocks are resident in a variety of grassy savanna habitats and in cultivation, where they feed on the ground for seeds and fly into trees when disturbed. The species may join mixed-species flocks and often drinks or bathes. It gives a melodic “swee-tee-eeer” song and a spitting, tinny “prrrrrt” call. The Bar-breasted Firefinch is very similar to the Red-billed Firefinch, but has a brown (not reddish) crown; the Brown Firefinch has a brown rump.