Usually conspicuous, they may form sizable flocks during the nonbreeding seasons, often mixing with juncos, lark or clay-colored sparrows, pine or palm warblers, or bluebirds. They frequently give their distinctive flight note upon flushing, usually flying up to a tree or other elevated perch to survey the intrusion. Polytypic. Length 5.5".
All feature dark lores, gray nape and cheek, gray unstreaked rump, 2 white wing bars, and lack of a prominent malar stripe. Breeding adult: bright chestnut crown, distinct white eyebrow, black line from bill through eye to ear. Winter adult: browner cheek, dark lores, streaked crown with some rufous color. First-winter: similar to winter adult, but brownish crown; buff-tinged breast and sides. Juvenile: underparts prominently streaked; crown usually