Generally brown-grey, with fine black and white barring and contrasting crimson rump and bill. Conspicuous black face-mask and pale blue eye-ring, and red conical bill. The wing tips of the male whiten during the breeding season and the overall plumage darkens. The female resembles the non-breeding male, but has complete barring on the abdomen, whereas the male has a blackish central patch. It inhabits swamps, open woodlands and heathlands, where it feeds on or near the ground, mostly on grass seeds, supplemented with seeds of other plants. It is active during the day in small family groups or within pairs and roosts at night in specialised nest. It is found in a broad coastal band through south-eastern Australia, from the lower north coast of NSW in the east to Adelaide and KI in the west, and throughout Tas.