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15 to 18 cm in length, much of which is in the very long, pointed tail. It has a short, pointed bill. The bird found in Chile is mainly brown with pale underparts. Its wings and crown have rufous markings, and there is a white stripe above the eye. The bird found in the Andes is larger and more buff coloured. The bird found in north Chile and Peru is more grey in colour and has little streaking on the breast. The bird found in Argentina and south Chile is pale grey, and has a little rufous on the wing.
Four subspecies are recognized:
Arid country, open woodland, forest edge, grassland, scrub, parks and gardens.
It forages among leaves and branches, searching for insects; it has been described as a perch-gleaning specialist, at least in Matorral habitat in Chile. It often forage in small flocks and readily joins mixed species flocks.
It builds its nest in a hole in a cliff, bank, tree or cactus. It lines its nest with grass and feathers. 2-4 and small, white eggs are laid. The young birds are able to fly within three weeks.
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