Skulky brown bird which scurries around among the leaf litter like a mouse. Dark-edged pale feathers on the back and crown give it a scaly-headed appearance. Gray-faced with rusty tinges in the wings. Subspecies in northern Myanmar and India have orange tinges to the underparts. Like other wren-babblers, typically shy and retiring, foraging in dense vegetation, though occasionally will emerge out into the open. Inhabits mid- to high-altitude forests, in which its high plaintive whistles can often be heard.