A furtive dark brown warbler of rocky gorges, dry river valleys, and boulder-strewn outcrops in semi-arid terrain. At close range, the gray throat in combination with the rusty crown, rump, and variable breast band are diagnostic. It actively hops on rocks and low bushes, sometimes vanishing into a pile of boulders or vegetation only to reappear some distance away. It is scarce and unobtrusive unless vocalizing, when it perches prominently to sing a series or repeated phrase of long, often slurred clear whistles, sometimes mixed with dry rattling buzzy notes.
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