The brilliant crimson, white and black plumage of this male chat is diagnostic. Females and immatures are drab in comparison, being brownish and having a washed out redness on the rump and breast. Another red-coloured bird with which it could be confused is the Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii. Much time is spent feeding on the ground and in low shrubbery. It is frequently seen in loose flocks, and often in smaller groups. Vocalizations vary from simple single notes to repetitive ‘dik-it’ or trills. The species is nomadic, inhabiting dry open environments throughout most of Australia.