Sexes alike. Black head, throat, breast, belly centre and thighs; rufouschestnut back, deeper chestnut on rump; white upper belly and sides of underbody. The Chestnut Munia L. m. atricapilla of N and NE India has white of lower parts replaced by chestnut. Gregarious, except when breeding, as in other munias; prefers reed beds and cultivation, especially where flooded; during breeding season (rains), often seen along with Streaked Weaver; feeds on ground.
Sexes alike. Chocolate brown above; olivish-yellow, pointed tail; white bars on rump; chestnut sides of face, chin and throat; white below, thickly speckled with very dark brown on breast, flanks and part of belly (speckles may be absent during winter and much of summer). Sociable, moving in flocks of six to several dozen birds, often with other munias and weaver birds; feeds on ground and low bushes, but rests in trees.
Breeding male: crimson and brown, spotted white on wings and flanks; white-tipped tail. Female: brown above, spotted on wings; crimson rump; dull white throat; buffy-grey breast, yellow brown below. Non-breeding male: like female, but greyer throat; upper breast distinctive. Small flocks, often with other weavers; partial to tall grass and scrub, preferably around well-watered areas; active and vibrant birds and rather confiding; huge numbers captured for bird markets.