Large rusty red and gray sparrow. Streaked breast and flanks; some streaks look like an inverted V. Upper tail surface distinct rusty red. Visible eye ring. The fox sparrow is the largest of our sparrows. The name is derived from the bird's foxlike color. Sometimes fox sparrows are confused with the hermit thrush when seen flying away, exposing the reddish tail.
The loud, beautiful song has several clear introductory whistles followed by trills and buzzes. The call is variable.