The striking combination of bright crimson underparts and black upperparts with a white wing bar renders this species unmistakable. A rare form occurs in which the crimson is replaced with yellow.
Juvenile is barred with greyish brown, with varying amounts of crimson below;above, it is finely barred with black, with buff edges to the feathers.
Thornveld, dry river courses and semi-arid scrub.
A harsh 'trrrrr' and a whistled 'qwip-qwip' duet.