Larger than a sparrow. Brown, with black stripe below eye and white or yellowish stripe above, black crescent on breast, and black "horns" (not always seen). Walks rather than hops. Length: 7-8 in (18 to 20 cm).
A soft ti-ti. Song delivered in flight is a high-pitched series of tinkling notes.
Plains, fields, airports, and beaches.
Breeds in Alaska and Canadian Arctic, coastal Canada, and south throughout all of United States except Southeast. Winters from southern Canada southward.
This bird is philopatric, or faithful to its birthplace, where it returns after every migration. Consequently, each local population adapts to the color of its habitat; 15 distinct subspecies have been described in the West. Head pattern determines subspecies.