Fairly common throughout most of its highly disjunct range, the Black-goggled Tanager is unusual amongst forest-based tanagers in showing extensive white in the primaries in flight. It prefers the undergrowth, is usually found in pairs, and regularly joins mixed-species foraging flocks. This tanager occurs on the east slope of the Andes from northern Peru to extreme northwest Argentina, as well as in the Atlantic Forest, where it is entirely confined to southeast Brazil. In terms of elevational range, the species ranges to 2400 m in the Andes, but rather lower in southeast South America. Males are very dull olive-gray above with a paler rump, and black wings and tail, a small but obvious black mask, a bright yellow coronal patch (which can be sometimes surprisingly difficult to see), and pale buffy underparts, whereas females lack the mask and coronal patch, but are otherwise similar.

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