Compact, robust, and big-headed warbler. Males are striking with a black hood contrasting with whitish throat, gray back, and red eyering. Females duller with a gray hood, white throat, and buff body. Common in many typical Mediterranean habitats including tall bushes, open woodlands, gardens, coastal scrub, and plantations; also in oases, acacia woodlands, and scrubby desert in non-breeding range. Usually first detected by its song, a fast, angry-sounding rattling "ctret-tret-tret-tret-tret" or "tetwtweer-tik-tik-tik" with whispering in between. The call is a dry "tseck."