This beautiful, thick-set finch, with a powerful bill, is highly social, often forming vast flocks of several hundred birds. The upperparts are rich chestnut, with a grey crown. The underparts are generally white, with a broad chestnut breast-band, bordered below with black, and conspicuous black face and throat. The call, ‘teet’ or ‘tit’, which may be either bell-like or long and drawn out, is used in a variety of situations. The song, however, is long and high-pitched, often lasting up to 12 seconds. It is common in rank grasses and reeds, from the Kimberleys, Western Australia, to Sydney, New South Wales.