A variable brushfinch found in montane forests and edges from Venezuela to Peru. Yellow below and dark above with mostly black face and rufous crown. Back color varies from greenish to gray to black. Some populations show small white patch on wing. Sexes similar. Despite confusing variation and taxonomic uncertainty, the combination of yellow underparts and rufous crown help identify this species. Found close to the ground at edge of forest or in shrubby areas from 1,500–3,700 m. Usually in small groups, sometimes following a mixed-species flock.