A small, stocky bird with a heavy, finch-like bill. Males have a gray head that contrasts with a black eye-stripe, and black on the collar, throat, and underparts. Females are pale brown with weak streaks on the head, back, and underparts. Similar to Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, but Ashy-crowned males are told apart by the gray on the head. Females are difficult to distinguish. Inhabits dry scrub, fields, and rocky country. The song is often given in display flight, and consists of monotone whistles interspersed with buzzy notes.