A small honeyeater of montane forest. Male unmistakeable with a black hood, belly, wings and tail. Bright red breast, back, rump and collar. Female mainly brown (olive green in some areas), with black throat, reduced red on the chest and rump. The only myzomela at high elevations, but co-occurs with other species at mid-elevaions. Males are distinctive, and it is only female with a red chest and rump. An energetic and variable song, including up-and-down “tweepy-tweepy-tweepy” phrases with slightly electronic-sounding notes.