Uniform medium-brown above from head to tail. Distinctive pale, buffy eyering and face separates Swainson's from other thrushes. Spots are concentrated and clearly defined on upper breast, becoming smudgier towards belly. Breeds in the boreal forest. Migrates to South America for winter; very rare in the U.S. after October, unlike Hermit Thrush. Its song is flute-like, ascending spiral like Veery in reverse.