A medium-sized, compact lark with a bulbous head and a chunky pale bill that appears upturned. The plumage is buffy-brown, especially the underparts, and the eye is underlined with a dark stripe that has a diagnostic tear-drop mark. Pairs inhabit stark, stony plains with scattered small shrubs and occasional grass, where they flip stones and extract seeds from the bases of grass leaf-sheaths. The species is most often seen visiting waterholes in the heat of the day. Calls include a simple chirping “treeep” given repeatedly in flight and on the ground, often betraying its presence.