Large, long-tailed sparrow with striking head pattern. Adults have black and white stripes on the head, while immatures show brown and tan. Underparts are plain grayish without streaks. Bill color varies from yellow to pink, but always brighter than White-throated Sparrow. Breeds in brushy areas or thickets in open forest, often with conifers. In migration and winter, can be found in any brushy or weedy areas, often hopping on the ground. Visits feeders.