A thick-billed, sparrow-sized songbird. The distinctive Obi form, sometimes considered a separate species, has a cinnamon underside and a olive-brown upperside, and females have streaked throats. Elsewhere, Drab Whistlers show grayish-brown upperparts with a variable underside: in the north Moluccas and Sula, a white throat, a soft gray chest band, and a whitish belly; in Buru, Seram, and Kai, a buffier belly and no chest band. In the Kai islands, females have streaked throats. Juveniles everywhere but Obi resemble females. Found singly in canopy of forests and wooded areas, from lowlands into foothills. Differs from female Black-chinned and Yellow-throated Whistlers in grayer upperparts and lack of yellow underparts. Variable songs include piping “chew-chew-chew-chew-chew-chong,” an ascending “chew-weeee,” and a “kwik-kwik-kwik-kwik…”.