The brilliant plumage of the male Scarlet-and-white Tanager renders it unmistakable, even when foraging high in the canopy. It is intense scarlet overall, with contrasting bright white flanks extending down to the belly so that only a narrow strip of scarlet connects the hood with the undertail. The female is patterned similarly, but the scarlet is replaced by brown. While the pattern of white and brown is subtly distinctive, females are generally most easily identified by their association with males. This species is fairly common in forest and forest edge in western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. It occurs in small groups both with and apart from mixed flocks of tanagers and other canopy species.