The White-winged Cinclodes is a large and rather bulky Cinclodes which is frequently confused with the smaller but similarly plumaged Cream-winged Cinclodes (Cinclodes albiventris). Both are species of high elevation found from central Peru south to central Argentina. The White-winged Cinclodes is a non-migratory resident. It differs from the Cream-winged not only in its white tail corners, bolder overall plumage pattern, and larger size but subtly in its habitat choice. The White-winged is much more of a specialist on creeks and streams, it appears to need flowing water and will not be found in large marshy bogs (bofedales) where there is not a stream. It also will take streams that are rocky and fast flowing, including those lacking much shoreline vegetation. This suggests that the food of the White-winged Cinclodes may be aquatic insect larvae; ecologically a way to think of this species is like high elevation dipper (Cinclus sp.). This Cinclodes is a rather quiet one, seldom displaying or singing as readily as the various smaller species in the genus. Molecular data clarifies that the closest relative is the White-bellied Cinclodes (Cinclodes palliatus).