Medium-sized dark brown bird with a restricted range. Chunky and relatively long-tailed, with a reddish wing contrasting with its dark chocolate brown body, and a white eyebrow and cheek stripe. Found in humid groves of Polylepis trees, where it forages on or near the ground, looking around mossy rocks and roots for its prey. Lacks the small white or cream patch on wing present in similar cinclodes species. Also note the darker brown body and thicker bill than other cinclodes in range.