Sparrow-sized songbird with brownish, streaked upperparts and flanks, grayish breast, and thin, pointed bill. Bright red iris and fine white streaking in the face distinctive. Occurs in high-elevation dwarf pine forests near and above the tree line during the breeding season and in streamside thickets of lower elevations during nonbreeding season. Gives intricate high-pitched songs from the top of dwarf pines. Its “tililili” call recalls the first portion of the song.