Adults have rufous sides, a white belly and a long dark tail with white edges. The eyes are red, white for birds in the southeast. Males have a dark head, upper body and tail; these parts are brown in the female.
Their breeding habitat is brushy areas across eastern North America. They nest either low in bushes or on the ground under shrubs.
These birds forage on the ground or in low vegetation. They mainly eat insects, acorns, seeds and berries.
The call is Drink your teeeee; the word "towhee" imitates this call.