A large sparrow with bold black stripes on a gray head, olive-brown upperparts, and whitish underparts with buffy gray tinge. Eyebrow whitish, usually paler face and median crown stripe. Sexes similar. Uncommon to locally common in scrub and forest border in very dry areas. Hard to see, often in pairs foraging in dense vegetation. Vocalization is a very high-pitched whistle. Very similar to Black-striped Sparrow, which has a grayer eyebrow and is slightly darker overall, as well an usually inhabiting more humid habitats than Tocuyo. Found only in northeastern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela.