A big, bulky, long-tailed black weaver. The bill is white in males and black in females. There is a white patch on the front edge of the shoulder, and also a pale patch in the wing that can be conspicuous in flight. Immatures are dark brown with heavy streaking below. Found in dry savanna and woodland, often in flocks. Builds huge communal stick nests. Similar to Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver, but never shows a red bill. The common call is a harsh “sjet” that is often given repeatedly by a whole group in chorus.