The only munia in its range with white on the lower back and rump. It has a blackish-brown head and back with pure white underparts and rump. Its back is finely streaked with pale shafts. Juvenile is rufous-brown with indistinct streaks above, rump buffy gray, breast light rufous, and underparts buffy gray. Races differ in the amount of white-and-gray streaking on the underparts and the extent of the blackish-brown on the head. Found in a variety of open landscapes including grasslands, shrubby open country, forest edges, thickets, plantations, village gardens, agricultural fields, and sometimes towns and cities.