The adult male of this striking bird has a crimson crown and breast and a
white throat, with a broad black stripe through the eyes and onto the nape. The
back and wings are a dark brown, and it has a short blackish tail with white
tips to the feathers.
It has a wide distribution from the west coast of Western Australia, through
the southern part of the Northern Territory, South Australia, into Queensland,
New South Wales and northern Victoria, often regions that have rain. When
Central Australia gets rain, flocks of these birds appear, seemingly out of
They walk across the ground, nodding their heads and picking up insects. They
have a brush-tipped tongue for sweeping nectar from ground-lowering herbs.