Colouring: Iris red-brown to red; bill pink, mauve or bluish slate, tip and cutting edges black; legs and feet light brown; rump and tail blue; underparts pinkish buff.
Voice: Urgent-sounding sweep or tseep callnotes, rapidly repeated; song of sibilant and harsh notes interspersed, chreu chreu chittywoo weeoo wee, etc. Harsh stuttering rattling alarm notes.
Habitat: Open thornveld with grass and bushes, riverine bush, secondary growth around cultivation, gardens; sometimes edge of evergreen forest.
Distribution: In Southern Africa, from Natal to Gauteng, northern and eastern Botswana, northern Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Habits: In pairs when breeding; otherwise gregarious in flocks of up to 40 or more birds. Forages on ground, but may hawk insects in flight. When disturbed, flies to the nearest tree or bush, with rattling wing-beats; soon returns to ground when disturbance ceases. Tame around human settlement.
Food: Seeds, insects.
Breeding season: October to June, peak in January
Incubation and fledging: Clutch: Usually 4 - 5 white eggs. Incubation: 11 - 12 days by both sexes. Nestling: 17 - 21 days; fed by both parents.
References: Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.
Kenneth Newman: Newman's Birds by Colour. 2000.