The only strongly patterned, black-and-white tit in its range. The upperparts from forehead to tail are glossy black, with a prominent white patch on the lower nape and upper mantle. The cheeks and the rest of the underparts are white, with a wide black central band running from throat to vent. The wings have a large white patch with a few black bars. Female and juvenile retain the same basic pattern, with duller black and dingier white. A habitat specialist found only in dry thorny forests. Seen in pairs or small family groups; quite vocal, commonly gives a 2- to 5-noted high-pitched “psi-psi-psi” ending in a harsh churrr.