While furtive, this tiny skulker is distinctive if seen well. Short-tailed and large-headed in profile, somewhat like a vole or shrew. Brown with a pale throat, white eyebrow, and white speckling on the upper body. Both undersides and uppersides are streaked with white, though the prominence of this streaking depends on the lighting. Appearance varies slightly across range. Song, composed of a single airy monotone or slightly falling whistle repeated at 3- to 5-second intervals, is hauntingly ventriloquial. Found in tropical and subtropical evergreen forests with dense understoreys, from lowlands up into submontane areas.