The tiny (10g) Scaly-feathered Finch inhabits dry, open savanna and thickets along drainage lines in arid scrubland, feeding predominantly on grass seeds and, to a lesser extent, insects. They are independent of drinking water.
Scaly-feathered Finches move around in small flocks, often in association with other small seed-eaters. They may breed throughout the year, but there is a distinct peak in the summer months. Nests are small balls, weaved of grass in a thorny bush, with a tiny tunnel opening to the nesting chamber inside. Clutches of up to 7 eggs are incubated for just short of 2 weeks, with the chicks leaving the nest before they are 3 weeks old.
The IUCN considers the Scaly-feathered Finch to be of least concern. In South Africa they can be found on the highveld of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, in Gauteng, the North West, Free State and Eastern, Western and Northern Cape. Outside of our borders they also occur in Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, extending marginally into Angola and Zambia.