This Colombian endemic has a limited range in the southern Andes, where it can be found in both the eastern and central cordilleras. It has dark upperparts, yellow underparts, and a distinctive black mustache stripe. Young birds are paler on the head and may show indistinct streaking below. The lack of any crown stripe or crown patch helps separate it from juveniles of other brushfinches, which otherwise can look similar. Inhabits tangles in clearings and at edge of cloud forest, but generally avoids forest interior. Vocalizations include a short series of chips and clear whistles and a fast, descending chatter.