This widespread western species is frequently seen perching on bushes, boulders, fences, and utility wires. Polytypic (4 ssp.; 3 in North America). Length 4.5".
Grayish brown above; darkest on wings and head, especially lores and behind eye. Breast and throat are paler, more grayish; contrast with tawny-cinnamon belly and undertail coverts. Contrasting black tail is particularly obvious in flight. Juvenile: plumage is briefly held. Similar to adult but browner, with 2 cinnamon wing bars and cinnamon tips to the feathers on the upperparts.
Variation is complicated by individual variation and wear. Compared to more widespread nominate, northwestern breeding yukonensis (Alaska and Northwest Territories to coastal Oregon) is smaller billed, with deeper orange underparts and deeper gray upperparts. Resident quiescens (deserts of southeastern