A stunning long-tailed waxbill with a red bill, mauve cheeks, and a blue rump. The underparts are vibrant chestnut in the male and cream-buff in the female. Pairs are resident in arid thorn savanna and drier woodlands, where they forage on the ground and lower layers of scrub, often in the company of other finches. The species can be secretive, flying quite a distance when flushed. The Black-faced Waxbill is dark like Violet-eared Waxbill, but it has a red rump, a dark mask, and barred wings. The Purple Grenadier lacks mauve cheeks, and its range does not overlap.