- Large, conical bill
- Large, flat head
- Short tail
- Yellow lores
- White throat with dark streak
- Dark gray plumage with indistinct streaks on breast
- Sexes similar
- Juvenile plumage (Summer) similar to adult but has buffier underparts
with less streaking and browner, not gray, upperparts
- Found in coastal marshes
- Some races are blacker and streakier underneath
Adults are fairly distinctive with gray plumage and yellow lores.
Juveniles are similar to juvenile sharp-tailed sparrows but have larger bills
and a broken supercilium.