A medium-sized honeyeater of lowland and foothill forest and edge. Typical of this group of honeyeaters, with olive plumage, yellow cheek and streak in the base of the bill. Travels singly or in pairs in the undergrowth or midstory where it likes to stay hidden. Very similar to other closely-related species and co-occurs with several, but Puff-backed is larger and stockier than most and has a thicker bill. Voice, a grating 3-note call and a low “Chup!”.