Breeding male of this species has black and buff plumage (not black and white as in breeding male Pin-tailed Whydah) and has diagnostic spatulate tips to its elongated tail feathers.
Female and non-breeding male have streaked head markings, not the bold black stripes of the similarly plumaged Pin-tailed Whydah.
Grassy areas in thornveld. Parasitises Violet-eared Waxbill.
Harsh 'Tseet-tseet-tseet', given by displaying males.