A fairly small, compact weaver with a large bill. Breeding males are colorful, with a black head, a red eye, a rufous chest, and a yellow belly and back. Females and non-breeding males are dull olive-gray with pale buffy underparts and a pale patch at the base of the otherwise black bill. Found very locally in riverside thickets in dry country, often in small flocks. Similar to Black-headed and Golden-backed Weavers, but separated by range. Females and non-breeding males can be cautiously identified by the pale patch on the bill and by the overall size and shape. Vocalizations are typical of weavers: “chik” notes and a scratchy “radio static” song.