A medium-sized gray-brown starling with dark wings and tail and a whitish rump. The pale bill and lemon-yellow facial skin in females and non-breeding males is subdued, but breeding males often acquire long, fleshy, dangling black wattles and canary-yellow naked skin on the head. This nomad always tends to be in groups, and breeds opportunistically in colonies. It occurs irregularly and is irruptive in short grasslands and open savannas; at any given location it may number in the thousands in some years, and be absent in others. It may associate with large mammals, capturing insects that they flush. Both sexes give a variety of squeaks and hissing notes.