The black crown and wingtips of this gray-headed barwing set it apart from other species within its range. Bright white eyering gives it a “goggled” appearance. Found at mid to high elevations, in both dense mature forest as well as in secondary growth and scrubby edges. Forages singly or in pairs, usually at upper levels. Song is a brief series of twittering hoots ending in one or two longer, drawn-out whistles.