Very dark hummingbird with a long tail and a short straight bill. Dark brownish overall with a steely-blue iridescence on the back and tail. The iridescent green-and-pink throat patch is only visible at some angles. Occurs at very high elevations from Ecuador to Bolivia, especially at the edge of Polylepis woodlands and other shrubby areas above 3,600 m. Occasionally feeds from flowers on the ground, but more often seen perched atop a shrub. Few other hummingbirds occur at such high elevations, so this thornbill is unlikely to be confused.