A medium-sized scaly-backed pipit. In breeding plumage, it is easily told by its canary yellow throat and breast. In non-breeding plumage, the chest becomes buffy with a yellow central belly. Pairs breed in luxuriant grassland with grass 15-30 centimeters tall, normally above 1400 meters of elevation, where they creep furtively through grassy tussocks and run quickly across open ground. The species does not flush easily but flies distantly when it does. Birds at the highest altitudes may move to lower-lying grasslands in harsh winters. Breeding Yellow-breasted Pipit resembles young Orange-throated Longclaw, but the outer tail feathers are white, rather than white-tipped. In non-breeding plumage, it is told from other pipits by its scaly back pattern, yellowish belly, and gray bill base.