A typical red-eyed masked-weaver with a plain olive-green back and pink-brown legs. The breeding male has a black face mask extending midway up the forehead, surrounded by a strong burnt-orange wash that spreads to the breast and flanks. Female and juvenile are duller, but their breasts are tinged orange-yellow, flanks brown, and bellies white. Pairs and colonies are localized residents of reedbeds, wetlands, and adjacent woodland, in a very narrow global range between southwestern Tanzania and the Saisi River in northeastern Zambia. The ranges of most similar masked-weavers do not overlap, but breeding male Katanga and Southern Masked-Weavers are yellower than Tanganyika, lacking chestnut tones, and breeding male Lake Lufira Masked-Weaver has black mask extending past the hind-crown, and strong chestnut underparts.