Male is the only seedeater that has all black upperparts (white spot on the wing), with a black throat and white
belly. Female is brown above, buffy below and has a dark bill.
Song includes a characteristics, telephone-ring-like rattled 'brrr-dur r r-HEER' and other trills. A wishpered song may be given (mostly outside breeding season), and this includes more warbled Carduelis-like phrases.