The Dusky Spinetail is a small furnariid of lowlands and mountain slopes of northwestern South America. Found in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, the species lives in forest undergrowth along the eastern base of the Andes between 200 and 1200 meters in elevation. It is dark olive-brown above and olive-gray below with a bright rufous cap, black face and throat separated by a white malar stripe, a dusky frontlet, and rufous wings and short chestnut tail. Dusky Spinetail is similar in appearance to Cabanis’s Spinetail but is allopatric with that species. This species is secretive and difficult to observe, so knowing its call, a low, nasal chatter, is useful in detecting in in the field.