The bird is around 30 cm long, with a red head and upper breast and white cheeks. The rest of the breast is yellow becoming more greenish toward the abdomen. The feathers of the back and shoulders are black with yellowish margins, giving rise to a scalloped appearance. The wings and lateral tail feathers are bluish while the rest of the tail is dark green. The female is similar to the male though duller in colouration.
Breeding occurs in spring and early summer and up to 7 eggs is laid in a tree hollow.
It is usually seen in pairs or small flocks, although larger flocks tend to form in autumn and winter. Its flight is strong and direct, sometimes very high. Its preferred habitats range from dense mountain forests to lightly timbered farming country, timber along rivers, briar-scrub and roadside hawthorn hedge, crops, orchards and gardens.
This bird feeds on the ground eating a variety of seeds.