A very small songbird of the wren family. It occurs from Canada to southernmost South America, and is thus the most widely distributed bird in the Americas. Adults are 4.3-5.1 inches long and weigh about 0.42 oz. The subspecies vary greatly, with upperparts ranging from dull greyish-brown to rich rufescent-brown, and the underparts ranging from brown, over buff and pale grey, to pure white. All subspecies have blackish barring to the wings and tail, and some also to the flanks. All subspecies show a faint eye-ring and eyebrow and have a long, thin bill with a blackish upper mandible, and a black-tipped yellowish or pale grey lower mandible. The legs are pinkish or grey. The short tail is typically held cocked.
It occurs in most suburban areas in its range and it is the single most common wren.