A geographically-variable, dumpy-bodied, brownish-gray bird with a long, scruffy tail. Differentiated from other mousebirds by its blackish face and gray-brown crest. It is often found scrambling through bushes and tangles, creeping around on short legs. In flight, it flutters rapidly, and its tail seems to drag it down, as if it were too heavy to make it to the next bush. Occurs in small, sociable groups in forest edge, savanna, thickets in grassland, and gardens, feeding on fruit, leaves, flowers, and nectar. After eating, birds may hang upside-down and expose the black skin on their bellies to absorb heat and aid digestion.