Small, mouse-like bird found at very high elevations in the Andes. Inhabits scrub and edge of elfin forest. Male is mostly dark gray; female has brown upperparts and gray underparts. Both sexes have very faint barring on lower underparts. Similar to several other species of tapaculos, and best identified by range, elevation, habitat, and voice. Song is a dry, cicada-like rattle that usually lasts two to six seconds, and then repeated again after a pause. Skulks in dense vegetation, usually close to the ground.