A large, chunky sparrow with a bright rufous rump and different-looking males and females. The male has a grayish crown with a rufous crescent around the ears and a white patch between the top of the eye and the base of the bill. The female has a paler washed-out head. Pairs and small groups are loyal to arid thorn scrub, avoiding human-altered habitats. The smaller House Sparrow is most easily told from the Great Rufous Sparrow by having a gray (not rufous) rump.