This large, chunky, richly-coloured bird is an Afromontane range-restricted endemic found from southwestern Tanzania through northeastern Zambia and northern Malawi, where it is most easily seen at Nyika National Park. Apart from the black lores, it has a plain, dark-brown back, a very bright rufous crown and mainly white underparts. The eye is reddish-brown, the bill and mouth black and the legs a dull pink.
Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry montane shrubland (at 1,100 to 2,400 metres above sea level), in rank grass with bracken and scattered shrubs, along forest edges and in moist depressions and valleys. It is often found close to water.
Its diet is mainly small insects, often foraging in pairs and in family parties of up to nine individuals. It gleans prey while hopping through low undergrowth. These foraging groups are often accompanied by African Stonechats.
Its song is a duet of three unique penetrating squeaky-hinge notes eek-zheek-pheuwww eek-zheek-pheuwww. This duet is often given in breeding season.
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