Currently treated as Near Threatened, the Masked Saltator is known from very few localities, in the Central Andes of Colombia, on the east slope in southern Ecuador, and in north central Peru. Throughout, it appears to be rare and local. The Masked Saltator is a bold and distinctive species, being mostly dark bluish gray above, with a black face and breast-band, largely white underparts, and a large black bill with varying amounts of red basally. The species occurs in the canopy of montane evergreen and elfin forest, and has been observed in dense stands of Chusquea bamboo in parts of Ecuador and Peru, but elsewhere there is evidence of a much stronger association with Podocarpus oleifolius, a very slow-growing and heavily logged tree. In Ecuador, it is speculated to undertake non-seasonal movements, perhaps in response to the availability of Podocarpus cones.