Heard but rarely seen; a retiring little gray bird of bamboo thickets and other dense shrubbery at forest edges, along streams, and in wooded patches. Can be confiding if an observer is quiet. Feeds by hopping quickly on the ground and through bamboo. Plumage is leaden blue-gray overall with faint paler spectacles, rich buffy flanks, and pale legs. Slightly larger and stouter-billed than Magellanic Tapaculo, which often occurs alongside Ochre-flanked in bamboo thickets (bill of Magellanic is slender).