Dumpy and broad-tailed warbler, warm brown above and pale grayish below, with a narrow eyebrow. Can be quite inconspicuous in dense vegetation. On breeding grounds, favors tangled vegetation near water, including reedy marshes with bushes and scrub. Often heard but rarely seen. Explosive, rich staccato song often draws attention: oftentimes, a bird sings once from cover, then moves to another concealed spot and sings once again, not the persistent singing from a single perch that typifies many warblers. Winters in a range of habitats with dense vegetation, including drier areas. Calls include a sharp “pik!”, a lower “chup”, and a dry rattle comparable to that of a sparrow.