Breeding males are spectacular birds with completely black underparts and mostly orange-red upperparts. Females and non-breeding males are brown and streaky. Breeds in moist areas including marshes, flooded grassland, and cultivated areas. Non-breeding flocks are found in many open habitats, and often mix with other species. The song is long and rattling, and the typical calls are rough “tek” notes. Breeding males are easily identified by their completely black underparts. Non-breeding males and females are very similar to other bishops, but are smaller than most other bishops, and lack the prominent yellow edges to the wing feathers of Fire-fronted Bishop.