A small, dumpy buff-and-brown weaver with a blue-gray bill, a dark bib, and scaly patterning on the back and flanks. Juveniles are duller, lacking the bib and scaling. It is restricted to open arid country, where hundreds can breed colonially in gigantic grass nests that are placed in trees or on man-made structures. Small to large groups forage on the ground, hopping and running after insects and seeds. The Scaly Weaver is smaller than the Sociable Weaver, is far less gregarious, and has a pinkish bill.