Despite the common name, the species is not actually banded, but overall iridescent black, with cream colored blotching on each scale. The snakes grow to approximately 600 millimetres (24 in) in length.
Not much is known about their venom, but it is likely a neurotoxin, like many other elapid snakes. The genus Paranaja was synonymised with Naja in a recent molecular phylogenetic study, as this species is closely related to the forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) 
- Naja multifasciata anomala (Sternfeld, 1917)
- Naja multifasciata duttoni (Boulenger, 1904)
- Naja multifasciata multifasciata (Werner, 1902)
- Wüster, W., Crookes, S., Ineich, I., Mané, Y., Pook, C.E., Trape, J.-F. & Broadley D.G. (2007) The phylogeny of cobras inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences: evolution of venom spitting and the phylogeography of the African spitting cobras (Serpentes: Elapidae: Naja nigricollis complex). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 45, 437–453.
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