A small, energetic bird of the western Andean slope from central Peru to northern Chile. The species has a bifurcated crest comprised of elongated lateral crown feathers and shorter central ones. The crest morphology is unique to the genus Anairetes among the family Tyrannidae. The Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant has broad black and white streaks on the breast and back; the belly color ranges from white to very pale yellow. The species inhabits arid to semiarid scrub habitats across a broad elevational range: it occurs in coastal riparian thickets as well as Polylepis forest at 4000 m. The Pied-crested Tit-Tyrant actively moves through dense vegetation, foraging on small arthropods by perch-gleaning or hover-gleaning; the species rarely sallies to retrieve insects.