Adults are grey on the head and upperparts with pale yellow eyes and a slim black bill with a slight downward curve; the underparts are light. They have a long dark tail with white edges and long dark legs. They have white wing bars and show white wing patches in flight.
Their breeding habitat is areas with a mix of open areas and dense shrubs from southern Canada to Mexico, but is most common in the southern United States. They build a twig nest in a dense shrub or tree. This bird agressively defends its nest against other birds and animals.
They are generally permanent residents; northern birds may move south during harsh weather. However, this species has occurred in Europe as an extreme rarity.
These birds forage on the ground or in vegetation; they also fly down from a perch to capture food. They mainly eat insects and berries.
This bird imitates the songs of other birds, animal sounds and even machine noises. It is often found in urban areas.