Emberizids are small to medium sized birds 10 to 24 cm in length (15 cm on average). Towhees are the largest members of the family. Males are usually larger than females. Males and females are generally similar in appearance, however, where dimorphism occurs, males are brighter than females. Longspurs, buntings, towhees and seedeaters are the groups within Emberizidae that most often show sexual dimorphism.
Emberizids have conical bills. Most members of Emberizidae are brown or gray with streaks on their breast and/or back. However, there are some exceptions; for example, snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) are primarily white. Juveniles usually have streaky coloration, especially on their breast. Adults molt in the late summer/early fall and in the spring. The molt does not usually change the bird’s appearance.
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; male larger; sexes colored or patterned differently; male more colorful