Males grade in colour from uniform bright yellow in the northwest to streaked, olive-backed birds in the southeast. The bill is always slighter than that of Brimstone Canary, and the head is less marked than that of Yellow-fronted Canary.
Female is drab grey-brown above and paler below, and streaked darker brown on both the upperparts and underparts. Juvenile resembles female but is more heavily streaked.
Karoo and coastal scrub, and scrubby mountain valleys.
A fast, jumbled series of 'chissick' and 'cheree' notes.