- Dark, conical bill
- White supraloral spot
- Broken eye ring
- White throat with black whisker
- Gray crown, back and wings
- Dark streaks on back (variable)
- White underparts with blurry streaks on flanks and dark spot on breast
- Long, dark tail with small amount of white on outer tail feathers
- Birds from California have darker upperparts
- Sexes similar
- Juvenile (Spring to Fall) much browner, streaked below with faint adult
The Black-throated sparrow somewhat similar but has black throat. Juvenile
similar to juvenile Black-throated Sparrow but has indistinct supercilium.
Local (southeastern Arizona) Five-striped Sparrow has gray breast and flanks
and black malar streak.